Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


An Experiment

Over Christmas weekend, Hubs and I committed to going on a 5 day cruise with my parents, my younger brother, and his best friend.  I use the word committed because that is what it is for us.  You see, Hubs and I are used to being by ourselves.  We almost always travel by ourselves and find that we enjoy doing what we want - when we want.  There are only two of us so we can do what each person wants.  Anyway, we feel that a cruise is the best way for all 6 of us to do what we want - spend time together, alone, I can read for hours on end while my mom visits the casino, etc.  It's a giant floating playground where we can all find happiness.

So our experiment is not whether or not I will commit a crime against one of my family members on this 5 day vacation but rather can we pay for our complete vacation without touching our regular budget or emergency savings account?  Is this possible? YES!  I can look back at my online banking and see time after time when we wasted money, overspent, etc. 

For the next 8 months, I hope to document our shopping and random expenditures to show how easy it is (hopefully) to be budget conscience. 


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our White Christmas

  Our Christmas celebrations started on the Sunday before with a dinner and ornament exchange with friends.  I didn't take many pictures but I did get one with our favorite little boy and Hubs. 

For Christmas Eve with my family, we usually do a themed dinner (almost always mexican).  I offered to make homemade chinese food.  It turned out execellent if I do say so myself!

 Hubs favorite dish!  Chinese Chicken Salad.  Amazing.

My own stir fry experiment. It is a variation on General Tso's.  Turned out really good!
Never underestimate the power of ginger, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.

Of course we had fried rice.  A TON of it!

And lastly, EGGROLLS!  I did not make these homemade due to time but aren't they pretty!?!

When we arrived at my parents' house early Christmas morning, they were watching home videos of Christmases past.  This video is from 1991 - one of several holidays we had in California - shows my mom and brother (only 3 at the time) opening presents on Christmas Eve from our family in Alabama.

Later in the morning at my in-laws house, the rain/snow mess started but we (me and the 9yr old) were ecstatic when we realized the rain stopped and it was all snow and it was sticking to the porch and yard.
Even the puppy, Merlin, got in on the action.  He LOVED eating snowballs.

Hubs wanted a snow picture.

Lovely White Christmas.


My First Menu Plan Monday

I love reading's blog...especially the Menu Plan Monday.  Hubs and I get burnt out on dinner ideas very quickly.  We love to try to recipes (when time allows) and we are always looking for inspiration.  I love the links on MPM and definitely get a lot of dinner ideas.  So, I thought I would join the crew and post my own Menu Plan!

Monday - Homemade Pizza and Salad
Tuesday - Homemade Hamburgers, Veggie (probably green beans), and salad
Wednesday - Baked Chicken, Green Beans, Purple Hull Peas, and Rice
Thursday - Breafkast with Hubs' new Belgian Waffle Maker
Friday - New Year's Eve!  Finger Food Dinner with Friends


New Spicy Chicken Biscuit at Chick-fil-A

Have you heard that in addition to the spicy chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A is about to introduce the spicy chicken biscuit?  My husband loves the spicy chicken sandwich and gets it everytime (at least once a week on his lunch break).  I knew he would be excited to hear about this new spicy biscuit. 

To introduce everyone to this new addition, Chick-fil-A is offering free biscuits January 3-8!  How great is that?!?  All you have to do is visit their website and reserve your biscuit at your preferred location!!  We are getting ours next Wednesday!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Father's Mother

 This is my father's mother.
Her name was Radie Mae.
She was very German.
She passed away when my dad was 17 years old.
I have never known what to call her - Grandmother, Granny, Dad's Mom, etc.
My grandmother was a pretty special woman.  She was almost finished raising 4 children when my dad was born.  She was in her early 40's - which was very rare in the 1950s.  She was also fighting breast cancer at that time.  The youngest of the four children was 15 when my dad was born.  The oldest grandchild (daughter of the oldest child) was born 3 years after my dad.  Today, the oldest grandchild is 51 years old and the youngest grandchild is 22 years old (my brother).  I am the second youngest.

 I really don't know a large amount about my grandmother.  I don't exactly know where she was from and I don't know her birthday.  I know that her father was German.  His name was Emil.  I know that she was a pretty amazing cook.  To this day, no one can replicate her dishes including her coconut cake (although my dad says my mom is the best since).  She created an soup called Cowboy Stew that my dad always made for our family.  I make this same dish for Hubs and I. 

Like I said, my grandmother passed away when my dad was only seventeen.  I could not imagine.  She left behind her husband of 40 (or so) years, two daughters, three sons, two son-in-laws, two daughter-in-laws, and 10 grandchildren.  I do wish I could have met her.

 Radie Mae and James Kennedy
My dad with his parents.


Sunday, December 5, 2010


I didn't take many pictures on Thanksgiving.  We had a busy day with lots of good food and visiting family.  We make a big turkey for Hubs family dinner along with corn casserole and green bean casserole.  We also take some stuff to my parent's home for lunch.  We eat entirely too much on Thanksgiving!

Hubs and I have so much to be thankful for - two great families full of characters and tons of laughter.  We do enjoy our day with our families.

Mom's homemade macaroni and cheese. Yum!
Cranberry Sauce!  No holiday meal is complete without it.

I forgot to snap the Turkey which was amazing but the ham was great too!

Baby Brother and I
My mom's real baby.  Bentley.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Hubs and I visited our friend in Nashville last month.  We had a great time visiting the city especially the sites in and around lower Broadway. 
 A tiny little joint that looks just like an old western saloon.

 The famous bar.

 Printers Alley.  It is said to be very haunted.  I wasn't brave enough to walk through it after dark.
 The Pantheon at Centennial Park
 The iconic Ryman Auditorium
We didn't get to tour it this time but next time for sure!
Vanderbilt University

 Very famous Wildhorse Saloon



Wow..I'm really opening up here!! 

I joined Weight Watchers in September with a three month free trial before I had to start paying (gasp!) the $17 fee.  I was very committed...for about a week.  Well it was more like 3.  I lost like 10 lbs.  I was ecstatic!  That feeling didn't long. 

Here's an equation for you -
Eating out (a lot) + a treadmill that does not get used + a permanent butt impression in my couch = Fail.

In light of several things, I typed that wonderful website back into my browser this morning and found out that Weight Watchers has launched a new meal plan called Points Plus.  It seems very similar to the original point system but they give you "power foods" and fruits & veggies no longer have points.  So, I'm back on program (after lunch).  I plan to do some heavy reading on this new plan and then I'm running with it. 

Who starts a diet before Christmas?  Well, there is no better time.  I can find 198,376 excuses not to get back on program but I need to just do it. 

Here are my "reasons" both serious and not:
- My diabetes could potentially go away (forever!) if I could lose 50 or so pounds.
- When I got to the beach, I won't be deathly afraid of a swimsuit.
- Also at the beach, while floating in the ocean, I won't be mistaken for a whale.
- Bigger isn't always better.
- Bye Bye Blood Pressure Medicine (maybe).  This may be a genetic issue but why not lose the weight to find out for sure.
- Not being confined to one little corner of Maurice's (who has awesome clothes).
- Being able to wear skinny jeans and boots.  While I technically can do this now...there are certain people with certain legs that should never wear skinny jeans...I would be in that category.
- Not ever hearing the phrase, "She (random person) isn't that big.  She's your size."  Blech!

So...join me for my journey as I whine, complain, yell, and maybe see a change. 


Monday, November 22, 2010

The Weekend that Was

1.  I had a marathon photography day on Saturday with three sessions!  Lots of sweet families.

2.  I am now addicted to The Vampire Diaries.

3.  Sunday afternoon spent going through old home movies with my Dad made my heart feel good.

4.  Had a conversation with my aunt where the words, "My butt came in but I haven't tried it on yet," were spoken.  Apparently there are such things as butt pads that you wear over your underclothing to give you definition.  That is all I will ever say about that topic.

5.  Top of the River has quite possibly the best fried pickles in the world.

6.  Hubs and I fell in love with Sourdough bread.  It makes for a GREAT BLT!

7.  We watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.  I knew it was only part 1 and I read the books so I know what happens but it still left me longing for more.  I had no closure!

8.  The "little" cousin that I used to try to carry around and pretend she was my own personal baby doll is now a beautiful 22 yr old woman.  It is fun to be friends with her as an adult and hang out.

9.  I loved hanging out in the backseat with my "niece" Ava on Saturday night.  She talks 90 mph...too bad it is all baby talk and I can't understand a single thing.

10.  I am starting this Monday (three day workweek) with a creme filled Krispy Kreme doughnut.  Don't judge.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trans-Siberian Orchestra comes to town

Last year, the Hubs bought us tickets to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  I had no idea what to expect and I was floored.  If you like great rock music, fantastic musicians, and fire - then the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is for you.  They put on a fantastic Christmas show full of amazing songs complete with a full orchestra that included electric guitars, horns, drums, and an amazing string section.  It is full of high energy, tons of lighting effects, and (again) fire! 

This year, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is coming to the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Arena on December 11th (with two shows).  Hubs thought it would be a great Christmas surprise to take his parents (huge 80's rock fans).  We are going ot the 3pm show but they also have an 8pm show.  It is definitely worth it and an experience to remember.

Tickets are still available at all major ticket outlets include Ticketmaster.


Monday, November 15, 2010

The Weekend That Was

The Weekend in 15 items or less -

1.  We went to Nashville (another post to come).

2.  I had Steak & Shake for the second time in my life.  To steal a phrase from Amanda - It was Divine!

3.  Apparently anytime we are on "vacation," the hubs and I have internal alarm clocks for 7am.

4.  Grocery shopping after being in the car for hours is not a good thing.  We bought junk.

5.  I was completely ecstatic on Saturday when I realized that the new Harry Potter movie comes out in less than one week.

6.  Intoxicated strangers who have to take their shoes off to walk down a side walk is completely hysterical.  (It's ok..she had a DD and help walking).

7.  Bought some fabulous new jeans at Maurice's at The Shops at Grand River.  They are perfect!! 

8.  I wore my knock-off cowboy boots when we went "out on the town."  I felt like a million bucks.  And nobody knew that I only paid $25 for them at Academy. 

9.  If I tell Hubs to please be careful not to get stuff on his brand new's like I just doomed him.  Or it could have been that McRib (nasty) he was eating while I was driving us up I-65.

10.  If you put diamond studs with a Carhardt brand baseball hat and Bass Pro Shop tshirt, you can totally look like a million bucks. 


Thursday, November 11, 2010


I want to share with you a little story.  Growing up, most children have an imaginary friend. I was no exception. When I was young (3-4 yrs old I guess), I had an extra special imaginary friend named Bosh. Bosh was my best friend. He went everywhere with me. I made my parents make Bosh a plate at mealtime and kiss Bosh goodnight. My memories of Bosh are kept alive by ALL of my family members - apparently I had such a strong belief in Bosh that random family members still ask me about him.
Bosh was my height - so about 3ft. I don't think he was a young boy but rather old because he had a job - he made nails (as in the kind you use with a hammer).
Bosh - age unknown

Being an only child at the time, Bosh was very real to me. It's pretty crazy that my favorite childhood memories are of my imaginary friend. My pediatrician assured my mother than my "friend" was perfectly normal and I had a very active imagination. Amen to that.
I'm not sure when Bosh went away. I don't know if he hung around until my baby brother was born or if he left when I started kindergarten. But, I thought I would share a moment of my childhood - my friend Bosh.