Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Times They Are A-changin'

It's getting a bit late to plug the camera into the computer and do a Christmas post justice, so for now I want to update with one little (big, actually...enormous) piece of news that has consumed most of our thoughts for the last week.

We're moving to Denver.

Brent interviewed for a job with another federal agency last Thursday, was offered the position the next morning, and officially accepted on Monday morning.  He'll move out there by the end of the month and I will follow when I have my own employment lined up, which we are hoping is sooner rather than later.

We are excited, nervous, happy for the opportunity, and sad to leave our families and friends...but we're really looking forward to going on this adventure and seeing where it leads us.  I don't consider my blog as a place where I often share the testimony of my life, but I feel like I'd be missing a real opportunity here if I didn't say that this is something that I very much feel that God is pushing us to do.  All the details of him getting this position from out-of-state seemed "meant to be", and for lots of other reasons it's a great time in our lives to move away and go on a little adventure for awhile.

That being said, I'm sure once we find a place to live I'll feel much more at ease about the whole thing.  :)  Call me spoiled, but I like knowing that I have a place to live.  We'll head out to Denver in a few weeks to look at houses (to rent, for now), and my plan is to not leave there without signing a lease.  It looks like there are lots of options and I'm not anticipating having much trouble.

The blog will probably become more of a moving journal for awhile, so I'll keep you all posted of our progress and the ridiculous situations that are bound to ensue when you're trying to move across the country in a four-week timeline.      


Monday, December 13, 2010

Annual Christmas Dinner!

My girlfriends from the ex-BKD Girls' Club got together recently for our annual Christmas dinner and gift exchange.  I'm trying to get away from the term "ex-BKD Girls' Club" because we're so much more than that.  So there, it's the last time I will say it.  I just love these women and am so happy that we've hung together despite lots of changes in our lives and jobs.

Yay - Debbie is back from her time in Alaska with AmeriCorps!  She always has some amazing stories to tell of her many adventures post-accounting life.

She must have thought the absence of her reindeer placecard was merely a terrible oversight and decided to take a seat anyway.
I scored the Macy's gift card this year in the gift exchange and am PUMPED to purchase some jeggings! (If they ever come back in stock again...thanks a lot, Pioneer Woman, for advertising them on your blog.)


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

We spent Thanksgiving in Kendallville again this year.  Brent's parents were in Knoxville with Larry's family, so we caught up with them the next weekend.  I think the best part of this year's Thanksgiving celebration was spending it with Lori, Bay, MaMa, and Uncle Jeff.  It's not very often that we get to spend it with extended family because of distance, but they all made the trip up and I'm so glad they did. 

"And thank you for a house full of people I love. Amen."
Terri Guillemets

Two of my three favorite men.

The results of our annual Black Friday shopping.  We were "aggressive, but friendly" as always, but I have to say that this might be my last year for awhile.  We always go for the experience and rarely have any big ticket items in mind.  Normally the crowds don't bother me because I have the proper expectations, but I was almost sent over the edge this year.  I won't rule it out, but I think it's going to take a pretty good deal to get me out of bed next year.

WAIT - I remember now why I was on edge.  It probably has something to do with this lil' critter...

...who whined and paced between our air matress and the door ALL NIGHT LONG on Thanksgiving night.  Yeah, that could be why I was a little crabby.

I was in charge of snacks and breakfast food for Thanksgiving Day/Friday, and here's a recipe I'd like to share with you.  This is a perfect and easy appetizer to take to a party.  It's from Annie's Eats, of course. 



Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fall Catch-Up Post

It's been a long time since I've had an actual update and all our comings and goings have started to get a little jumbled in my mind. I guess that's why I do the blog in the first place - to remember! Here's my best attempt at a catch-up post, organized into categories with the best of my ability.

Interest Rates, Mortgage Refinancing, and Unidentified Wetness.
We finally refinanced on our house last month. We really meant to do it last fall but just kept putting it off. I'm glad that we did, because we got a much lower rate in the end. Who knew those rates could get any lower than Nov. 2009? Here's a funny anecdote from the afternoon of closing:

We had to stop at our bank first and get a bank check for closing costs. As we were standing at the teller window, I looked down at the tile floor and noticed water drops. It wasn't raining that day, so my mind immediately skipped to urine. "Hmmm, did someone pee right here at this teller window? Sick!" (I know, pretty unlikely...but it's the first place my mind went.) We headed to the bank where our closing was held, and as we got out of the car, I noticed that the floorboard of the car was wet, too. Weird! It wasn't until we were standing on the tile floor of bank #2 and I heard the dripping that I realized the leaker was ME! The cap had come off the water bottle in my purse, and the entire purse bottom was filled with water - a lot of water. There was a trail of water all the way back to the door. I quickly moved to the carpet so I could drip indiscreetly. Everything was soaked, including the six sheets of Forever stamps I have been hoarding in expectation of an increase in postage next year. But at least it wasn't pee.

Fall Concerts
My friend Carrie works at the Speedway, and was able to score two of the company's box seats at Conseco for the Zac Brown Band concert. I liked a few of their songs before I went, but honestly that concert gave me a whole new appreciation! I was absolutely blown away by this group...and think that Zac Brown is adorable. I mean, he looks like a little cuddly bear cub, so give me a break.  Thank you, Carrie, for the awesome seats to this very excellent concert!

Brent celebrated his golden birthday last week! He turned 29 on the 29th and is now on the slow descent to 30. He stirred from his Purdue sports-induced depression long enough on Sunday to enjoy dinner at Sapporo and have a slice of DQ ice cream cake before the Colts lost to the Chargers. On his actual birthday, we met up with Adam and one of his friends at Scotty's downtown before the main event - a Shinedown acoustic concert at the Murat.

Another great concert, but a little late for me.  It was a Monday night, and I knew when they had only played four songs by 10:20 that my 6:30 a.m. work start the next morning was in jeopardy. 

November is the month when college football and college basketball collide, so we made several trips to West Lafayette recently. Most of those trips have ended poorly on the football end, but basketball seems to be a little more promising...hopefully. At halftime of the Austin Peay game, we got to visit with my friend Deric from high school. It had been, oh, maybe 6 or 7 years since we'd seen each other, so that was a nice surprise! He and his lovely wife, Amanda, live in Arkansas and are expecting their first baby in January.

Update on off-brand yeast:

The dough - it riseth.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Christmas Lights" is Here!

Coldplay's long-awaited single is out!  They teased that it would be released last Christmas, and I had read on some fan pages this fall that it wasn't going to be ready this year, either.  What a nice surprise on this cold Tuesday morning. 

I think it was worth the wait!

Oh Christmas lights, light up the street.
Light up the fireworks in me.
May all your troubles soon be gone.
Those Christmas lights, keep shining on


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Family Photos/Christmas Card Sneak Peek...

A couple of weekends ago our very talented friend Emily took Christmas card photos for us.  The Sinders needed one for their card too, so you'll see their Corgi make an appearance in this sneak peek.  I LOVE how they all turned out!  Thanks again, Emily!!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Leftover Turkey Recipe

I'm working on a real blog update, I promise, but for now I want to get this recipe out to you.  It's pretty time sensitive, since you probably only have another good day or two left with your turkey scraps before they start to go skunky on you.

Here's a little casserole I threw together tonight that was a big hit at my house.  I added a single leftover chicken breast in my dish, but it would be equally great, if not better, with turkey.  The best part is that this can be  improvised based on your available fresh veggies, made possible by the miracle that is Cream of Mushroom soup.  You could put rolled up balls of newspapers in this dish and probably not even bat an eye.

Leftover Turkey Casserole

2 cups cooked turkey (or leftover cooked chicken breast)
2 cups diced potatoes
2 cups sliced carrots
1 diced onion
1 cup frozen peas (or 1 can of peas) I didn't use in my recipe, but they were missed!
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup

Boil potatoes, carrots, and onion until tender. Drain most of the water but leave a little bit so it mixes well with the soup.  Add turkey, peas, and soup.  Mix gently and spread in glass baking dish (9x13 or smaller). Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Shutterfly Christmas Cards!

Ever since we have been sending photo Christmas cards, I've always used Shutterfly.  They have lots of cute options this year and it's easy to find a card template that fits your number of photos, size, and spreads your holiday cheer the exact way you intend.  Here are our past Christmas cards from Shutterfly:



(Sorry those first two are so small.  I was really struggling with getting the image copied in properly, and my extra cards from these years are packed away in the Christmas stuff.)

This year, I'm loving these Shutterfly designs:


Check out other Christmas card templates here:

The cards I love the most are square, and require extra postage, of course.  But hey, the USPS could use the extra revenue, so I can always use that as my deciding factor. 

Bottom line, I love Shutterfly Christmas cards (and I'm not just saying that because they're giving me 50 free cards for writing this blog post).  We're getting pictures taken on Sunday and then I can't wait to make my final selection and order our cards!  

If you would also like a promo code for 50 free cards by posting on your blog, click here:


Friday, November 12, 2010

An Observation

There isn't a grocery store within fifteen miles of my house that sells Fleischmann's Rapid Rise yeast.  So here's my question - if one has the choice between Rapid Rise and Active (a.k.a. - Take All Day to Rise), is it not obvious which to choose?  Why even bother making Active yeast?  Give the people what they want - fast dough! 

All I know is that I have three batches of soft pretzels to make tonight and neither Kroger nor Marsh have Fleischmann's Rapid Rise.  So I bought several packets of....Kroger brand rapid rise.  I don't trust it, but my hands are tied. 

We'll see if it turns out better than the last time I couldn't use Fleischmann's Rapid Rise.  


Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Monumental Achievement

Life List #35 - Run a marathon

My friend Christi and I were sitting in her family room drinking a bottle of wine on an early summer evening when we committed ourselves to a "great idea" - running the Monumental Marathon.  The FULL marathon.  We were apprehensive, but thought we could probably do it.  After all, I've completed eight minis (and Christi a few more than that) and thought it was reasonable to take the next challenge.  Moreover, I figured that we would get into the training program and either decide it was too time-consuming or one of us would get some nagging running injury preventing this "great idea" from happening.

What DID happen was 18 weeks of good solid running - resulting in getting to eat whatever I wanted and further cultivating a great friendship.  Our efforts led us to yesterday, Marathon Day.  I was very nervous about it all week, but not because I didn't think I could finish.  I was nervous because I remember all too clearly what it's like to be at mile 11 of a mini marathon praying for it to end.  I had no idea what that experience would be like times two.

We did our best to do everything right this week in preparation - getting lots of sleep, eating well (minus the potato skins I had on Thursday night as my entree at Champps...that was just a moment of insanity), and carbing up on Friday night at Bravo:

The Steinberg's

Candy and Ariel - Candy ran her first mini yesterday at a time of 1:59 - WOW!

Race Day -
Buddy Bear gets ready to shave 40 minutes from his first marathon and come in at a time of 3:47:31.  Simply amazing to me.

The weather was a little bit of a worrisome factor for us and we all stocked up on some new Under Armor last week before the race.  Christi and I wore matching UA tops and Brent, Christ's husband Jay, and Jay's friend bought these matching yellow singlets.  Turns out we were just fine in our outfits and ear warmers and stayed plenty warm while not getting too warm.  Such a finicky combination to hit.  

Jay, a seasoned marathoner, says that Miles 1-13 are all legs, no problem. Miles 13-20 are mental. And Miles 20-26 are run with your heart. I wholeheartedly agree.

Christi and I were doing pretty well through the halfway point.  Here we are at about Mile 9.  We had stopped to eat a few of our Chomps, and I was able to make some room for a camera in my fanny pack so I could document the day and blog about it - of course.


 From miles 13-20 we set little goals for ourselves.  "Okay, let's just get to Butler (mile 17)" and "At the IMA (mile 18) we get to eat our peanut butter sandwiches".  Our longest training run was 18 miles, so every step past mile 18 was our self-proclaimed "No-Man's Land" where we really didn't know what would happen or how our bodies would react to the strain.  

I remember looking at the Mile 20 sign and just saying over and over to myself - "Does that say Mile 20?  Is that a 2 - 0?  WOW!"  

For me, Miles 20-26 were absolutely brutal.  Around 21.5, we came to a busy intersection and a race organizer yelled to us that they would stop traffic when we got close to the intersection.  I told him there was no need...I didn't think I minded crossing without a police escort at that point.   

Our men and Christi's peanut Peyton met us around 10th and Meridian.  It was great to see them cheering for us on the sidewalk!  Getting a hug from Brent made me cry, which made it hard to breathe, so I had to keep rolling. 

Here's a picture Brent took at that point - Mile 23.5

Hatin' me some life. 

I got out my camera and took a picture of the last three mile signs as we passed.  Unless I momentarily lose my mind, this is probably the last time I'll see these numbers on race signs again.

Around 25.7, I felt what can only be described as "an explosion in my shoe".  I really don't know what else to call it.  There was a scream, followed by some profanity (sorry spectators with kids :/ ) and then some theatrical hobbling.  My right pinky toe had been hurting for miles, but something happened and it just had had enough, I guess!  I still haven't really figured it out.  My sock was bloody, there's a crack down the top of the toe, and the entire thing is swollen.  All I know is that I'm thankful it happened at 25.7 and not 18, because that would have been a challenge.

What a sweet, sweet sight.  The Indiana Historical Society - our wedding reception site - is in the background.


I am beyond proud of us for hanging in there through all the training and doing the best we could yesterday.  Our final time was 5:36:57.  I've already started with the "I bet we can shave a good 20 minutes off that next time" thoughts...but all in all I think it's safe to say that I'll be sticking to minis from now on.  The goal was to complete a full marathon - and we definitely were successful.