Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mail Call

Today was actually a great mail day! I still love getting snail mail and get kinda bummed when the box is empty!

I opened the box and there was a package for me and 5 letters from B's work inside!

I was excited and couldn't hardly wait to open my box (and yes, I opened one of B's letters to make sure it wasn't something he needed to know asap...don't citizens arrest me!!)!

It was...
(sorry so dark)
a TROPHY! I came in 2nd place in my age division on my very first 5k! I'm pretty stoked! It will be proudly displayed, and hopefully will motivate me to keep going!


-Ben also received 5, yes FIVE, letters from the "big wigs" at work (talking Deputy Chief, Lieutenant etc). They were condolence letters with encouraging words and even mentioned B's Grandfather by name. Very touching, classy and unexpected.


Happy Mail day for us! :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

the Joneses

(this isn't meant to offend anyone...just my ramblings about something I've been thinking of lately.)

You will obtain your goal if you maintain your course.
-Chinese fortune cookie
This weekend we had to make an unexpected trip to Nashville. Since it was so last minute, we had to drive up like the Beverly Hilbillies in B's truck. Just imagine...2 crates, 2 bags, dog food etc all in the back of the truck...yeah, hillbilly alright...ha! We had to take his truck because Ben doesn't trust one of my tires and we didn't have time to get it fixed.

As we were loading the truck, I began thinking about how nice it would to get a newer SUV. It would solve all our issues, right. That started us talking about our favorite subject: budgets. We are really trying to live frugally, or as B calls it, "budget ballin", so we can pay off the last bit of debt we have and really start saving. It's hard not to buy every outfit I see, or that new 3D TV that's out (crazy neat, but oh so unpractical) but it'll be worth it in the end...right?

We took the Financial Peace class when we first got married, and are slowly but surely finally getting into the groove! One of Dave Ramsey's best quotes is "live like no one else, and later you'll live like no one else".(meaning: live frugally, with in your means, debt free now and you'll reap all the benefits i.e. money, security etc later)  It sounds great, but let me tell ya it is very hard to practice!

Earlier this year, we went to visit an old friend of mine. The first thing she said when we got out of the car was "I can't believe you're still driving the Volvo". See, I've had the same car since I was 16 and before that my mom drove it a few years. So...it's seen better days. Of course my friend drives a newer, nicer sportier car. B always joked (with some seriousness) that I'll drive that car til the wheels fall off, then he'll just put 'em back on! So a "new" car isn't on our priority list just yet!

Once again, the Jones effect crept into my mind. I'd love to drive a newer, nicer car but it just goes against all my better sense! I have to remind myself that the Joneses are most often time in debt out of their eyeballs, which is the opposite of what we want! I recently found out that my friend with the nicer car, is actually upside down on it (guess that term "stupid tax" is true), so my ole '93 tank looks really good right now!

The Jones effect is everywhere: from houses, clothes, technology, cars etc, so it's a struggle.  I'm trying to remember Dave's quote and live by it, but it's hard, really hard. However, I know that if we maintain our course, we will soon accomplish our financial goal!

...but if anyone wants to donate a nice, reliable SUV...be my guest! :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sad day.

Ben's Grandfather passed away this afternoon.

He was a wonderful man and I had the privilege of knowing him 8 short years. We thankfully spent some quality time, just the three of us, a couple weeks ago and we'll treasure those last memories always.
He joked: "You know what the best part of being old is?"
I said "no what"
Granddaddy said: "You can hug on all the pretty women and they don't think anything about it!"
:)

He will be missed greatly...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Uncle


Never look ahead to the changes and challenges of this life in fear.  Instead, as they arise look at them with the full assurance that God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them.  Hasn't He kept you safe up to now? So hold His loving hand tightly and He will lead you safely through all things. And when you cannot stand, He will carry you in His arms.

Do not look ahead to what may happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you His unwavering strength that you may bear it. Be at peace, then, and set aside all anxious thoughts and worries.

                              Francis de Sales



Two years ago, my Uncle Tim lost a long hard battle with colon cancer. Two long years ago, the world lost an amazing man.

A few months ago, I came across this quote on another blog and I immediately thought of my Uncle. His faith in God was outstanding. I’ve never met a man who could go through all he did and still believe that “God has a plan…never to harm you” (his favorite verse was Jeremiah 29:11). He handled his cancer and chemo with a grace that even today boggles my mind. He had “unwavering strength” to bear such horrible things and I can only attribute that to his faith in God.

He was a brilliant man (full scholarship to Notre Dame) who thankfully spent his life educating others. Ironically he spent most of his teaching/Principal career at “Francis De Sales” school for boys in KY. I’ll never forget going to visit him and seeing him in action. Those boys loved and respected “Keogh”, as they called him. 

Every moment to him was a teachable moment! When I was oh maybe 7 years old, we were getting ready to drive in his truck and he had a carton of chocolate milk he was going to drink, while driving. I said innocently “but Uncle Tim….you can’t drink and drive…you’ll get in trouble”! Of course, he informed me in the appropriate child terms what that law really meant!
Uncles: Tim, Kelly and John at our wedding

Even at chemo treatments, my Uncle was wearing his “educator cap”: one day he walked into treatment and a young guy was there for the first time. My Uncle reassured the young guy what would happen and “taught” him the ins and outs of chemo.

He thankfully moved home for a while before his cancer came back. It was wonderful to spend quality time with him and I’ll cherish that time always. I’ll never forget his beautiful voice (he was extremely talented) singing at our wedding. I’ll also never forget him breaking it down at our reception either! We all know how to have fun, that’s for sure!
breaking it down!

Aunt Molly and Uncle Tim at my graduation!

The doctors gave him the news that no chemo or treatment would be effective anymore. There was experimental treatments, but my Uncle wanted nothing of them. He knew God had a plan for him and he was at peace. Of course, we begged him to try everything because we wanted him here on Earth with us. He was at peace with his decision and and wanted nothing more then to help us get some peace too.
he came down to Memphis to visit us July 2008! Treasured memories for sure!

My Uncle went to be with his Heavenly Father on September 21, 2008. It was early Sunday morning; he was at home surrounded by his family and closest friends. It was beautiful. We all held hands, prayed, sang and cried. My mom and dad were out of the country, but thankfully she was able to talk to him one last time.

His funeral was packed. His former classmates, students, colleagues, family and friends filled the church to the brim. It was such a celebration of his short life and such a reflection on what a wonderful man my Uncle was!

For I know the plans for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11


A group of people wrote an "Elegy for Tim" and even had a Facebook page dedicated. Here's a quote from one of his former students:
Tim is legendary. He is the type of teacher movies are made about. He had such an impact just by being himself. He could seamlessly move between the role of disciplinarian, teacher, confidant, father, brother… friend. It seems he always knew what role you needed him to play at any given moment. He had an uncanny ability to provide perspective to anything you were going through. Whether it was the death of a loved one, petty teenage angst, a recent breakup with a girlfriend, the stress of picking a college or general fear of the unknown, Tim was there to provide guidance. He also did so in a genuine way, one where he was not afraid to call you out on your own bullshit. Because of this, he could be absolutely infuriating at times, especially in the eyes of your typical teen male. It may not have been apparent at the time, but looking back, even at his most frustrating, Tim was always doing what he felt was best. More often than not, his instincts were spot on.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

I did it!!!

A couple months ago, I read an blip about a 5k training program just for women. I don't know what got into me, but I immediately said "I'm doing it" and went to the registration the next day. I've never been a runner and only walked a mile or two casually around the 'hood.

It was 10 weeks long and I forced myself eagerly went to all the trainings (but one when I had a fever)! I was determined that I was going to complete the training and "graduate" with the 5k!

Well....today was the big day!

After arriving at the race site (bright and early I might add), my nerves and adrenaline started going crazy! I was so pumped to be finally doing a race!
I'm official!

just a few of the 100's participating!

The first mile, to me, went by really quickly! They had water stations at each mile, which was much appreciated! I actually felt like a real "racer" because I got to take my sip and then throw my cup on the ground!! That just made the race...ha!

FINISHED!!

The race went by really quickly! I walked the 3.1 miles in just under 45 minutes, which is excellent for me! I set out this race just to complete; I didn't care if I was first or last! I actually beat out a lot of runners, which I have to admit, made me happy!

After the race, I found Ben and took our obligatory photos! I am so thankful that he was able to make it! I know he doesn't care for waking up at 6:30 on a Saturday, but I really am glad he did! He was quite proud of me too and "wouldn't miss it for anything"! Aww...

my training friend, Erica!!

On our way out, I stopped to get some water and check the door prize board for my number. I WON a prize. I never win! The lady gave me the prize and said "you'll really enjoy this"! I opened it and it was....
a gift certificate to a local sports/running place!!

I have to say....I'm quite proud of myself! I know to some, a 5k may not be much but to me it was affirmation! I can do this!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tour De Living Room!

Kelly at Kelly's korner started her "show us your life/where ya live" bloghop again and this week it's Living rooms!

Our living room is quite basic, but we're slowly but surely adding to and improving!

Here it is when we bought it:

The walls and ceilings were gray. The previous owners (it was a foreclosure) must have LOVED stencils, because they were EVERYWHERE!

Here it is today:
we desperately need some wall art but can't figure out what we want!
Any suggestions on inexpensive but cute wall art?

we're updating all the fixtures...here's our new non-brass fan!!

our summer mantle. I've added a few more candle sticks too!


it's usually centered, but sometimes the dogs move it when they walk by!



So...there's where we live it up! :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ole!!

I happened to find a recipe (Taste of Home) that I thought looked good. I decided to make it tonight and I am so excited I did!

Of course it didn't look like this, but it was DELICIOUS!!



Try it:

Enchilada Casser-ole!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat Italian salad dressing
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium taco seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 flour tortillas (8 inches)
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

Directions

  • In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the salsa, beans, dressing, taco seasoning and cumin. Place three tortillas in a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer with half of the meat mixture, sour cream and cheese. Repeat layers.
  • Cover and bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes before topping with lettuce, tomato and cilantro. Yield: 8 servings.



I didn't have cumin or cilantro and used the regular sour cream and it was still excellent!


Updated:
Nutrition Facts: 1 piece equals 357 calories, 12 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 45 mg cholesterol, 864 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 23 g protein.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

accomplish

 
Today's "top 2 Tuesday" is two things you'd like to accomplish before the end of 2010. I still can't believe this year is almost over; it has flown!


1.5k

I'd like to complete at least two 5k's! My first 5k is this weekend, so I'm excited! I'd like to do one more this fall, then who knows...a half marathon! :)

2. Eat more balanced meals!

I do not do as well in the vegetable and fruit category and I'd like to change that! I hope to at least eat one fruit and vegetable a day. Hey...ya got to start somewhere!


Head on over to play along!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Whirlwind

We decided it had been way too long since we've both been home (Nashville), so we made a long weekend out of it! It was a whirlwind trip, but oh so worth it!

Friday:
-We boarded the dogs because we need to drive B's truck! Dixie Belle gave the boarder lady kissses, but Memphis Girl decided she'd rather stay with us! After a quick hug, we left. I seriously felt like I had dropped my kids off at their first day of school, because they were crying and I was a bit bummed. But....I quickly remembered that they're dogs and they'll be spoiled rotten when we pick 'em up!

-After driving 3 hours and getting stuck in some traffic, we finally made it to good ole Nashville!

-Our first stop on our clipboard of fun was to see Ben's Granddad. He has succumb to some health problems lately and is in a rehab facility to get his balance/coordination back. We haven't seen him since January so we paid him a visit at the facility! We talked about everything: his Army days, working in the farm, marriage....everything! It was a great visit!
B and his Granddad!

-We then went to my parents house for the evening. They had completely gutted and remodeled their kitchen and I coudln't wait to see the final product! It was ah-mazing! I almost want to move back home...almost! :)

My brother and his family came down and we all enjoyed a nice homemade from her new kitchen burger from 5Guys! It was great being back like old times!

Saturday:

-I had to take my parents to the airport bright and early because they're cruising to New England/Canada! lucky...

-After letting B sleep a little, we headed an 1 hour away to see my Granny. She was not expecting us and was pleasently surprised! We visited for a while but we had several more items on our clipboard so we had to make it shorter than normal.
Granny always has to have her phone...she's one popular lady!  

(ignore my crazy hair please!)

-We ate lunch at Chuys! I heard great things about this place, so I was happy to try it! Well....it was just okay to us. We had the tacos, so next time we'll try something different!

After lunch, we drove to see my brother's house (and well them too) because he is doing some major reno work on it! They bought an older home, fixed it up nicely....then their water heater busted and caused major damage. So, now they're redoing it again.
My nephew Drew was sick, so we didn't get to stay as long as I'd like! Will gave us the cold shoulder most of the time, but I finally pried him out of his room!
Em: "Will, did a Tornado come through your room?"
Will: "No...just Drew!"
 


He informed us that he has a girlfriend in Pre-K and they she kissed him! I'm not too happy my sweet nephew is already loving another girl!! He also gave us his dissertation on "Nanny McPhee"! I don't have to watch the movie now because I know everything just from listening to him! :)

-That evening a friend of ours was having a cook out at his new house! D just purchased his house, so we were excited to see it and our friends again! We had yummy chicken, asparagus and potatoes! Seriously, the potatoes were the best I've eaten! I hear there are some things (ahem mayo) in it that are probably best  not known (for calorie reasons)! We ate and ate and laughed too and had a really fun time!
Dave, grill master!

Ben, beer drinker extraordinaire!


Justin and Sheena, they're expecting #2!!

I now know that we're officially adults because at 9:30 we were all ready to go or had to leave to get kids etc! Not too long ago we could stay up and at it til at least 2 AM!! I think I like being a grown up though! ;)

After dinner we headed back to B's parents house to spend some time with them and finally crash!

Sunday:

We had breakfast with B's mom and dad at IHop, then hit the road! Thankfully the Titans were playing and we listened to the game on the radio! I'm sure many a truck drivers were confused to see me clapping and cheering in the car though!

 We made it home just in time to unload our new-to-us table before we had to pick the girls up!

love the pub table!!
After a quick stop to Goodwill (drop off old table), we picked the girls up from the vet/boarder!

They were beyond excited to see us and couldn't wait to get home! They got a great report and the boarder lady said "Memphis sure loves to give hugs!"  That's my girl!

When finally returned home, we all (dogs too) crashed!
After we got another round of energy!

There's no place like home. 

(just wish it were closer to our first home!)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Too Cute!

Marriage Tales

Today is Too Cute Thursday over at a blog I recently discovered (Marriage Tales), so I thought I'd participate!

Not something I'd wear, but I think they're cute nonetheless! 

Dixie Belle when we first got her, 9 weeks!
Whenever she's being a brat working my nerves, 
I remind myself how cute she was as a pup! :)

My nephew was goalie a couple weeks ago!
His jersey and gloves are bigger than he is!
My nephew= really cute!!


Head over to play along!

Have a cute Thursday!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Au-some!

There is this really neat place (restaurant/cheese shoppe etc) in Midtown that we have fallen in love with called Au Fond Farmtable! They usually are just a breakfast/lunch place but they have burger night on Wednesday nights! We try to go as often as we can!

Their food is from the farm to the table, so everything is fresh and local! You can really tell the difference from non fresh foods other places serve!
menu

I had the "Plain Jane" and Ben ate the "Coronary bypass". Yeah, it was massive and had: ham, bacon, swiss, cheddar and a fried egg. He only ate half so I guess he wont need a defibrillator yet.

Coronary and Plain Jane!
They are served with fresh cut "pomme frittes", a fancy French word for fries! Whatever they call 'em...they are tasty!
Mexi-Coke...real cane sugar!


B: "I'm not smiling"



neat farmtable! love sitting community style

I've heard wonderful things about a "deep dish sour cream apple pie" from a place across the street from Au Fond. Today, I decided I had to try it myself. I ordered it to-go and I'm so glad I did because the pie is de-lic-ous!

worth the extra 2 days in the gym!


We had an "au-some" night and dinner!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Confessions

1. Our neighbor gave us a watermelon last Thursday. I was thrilled but then it occurred to me: I've never actually cut up a whole watermelon before. The pre-sliced ones at Kroger are way more convenient! I debated which way I wanted to cut it to insure that I didn't chop of a finger or two, and decided to go from one end to another. After butchering cutting it I decided to bag some up to take to school (b/c there is no way two people can go through 3 huge bags of watermelon)! I can't wait to eat some tomorrow for breakfast!
not exactly package worthy, but good nonetheless!


2.  We are pack rats! There, I said it! For some reason, we have kept random stuff in our spare bedroom closet and it was driving me nuts! This labor day weekend was quite laborious for me because I tackled the clutter! I filled a huge bag full of stuff for Goodwill, threw some random things (i.e. an empty box for B's P90x he got 4 yrs ago) away and re-organized the closet.

While cleaning out the linen closet, I found a bag full of some towels we got from our wedding! They are the really soft, kinda expensive,  really nice towels that I refuse to use! B came home while I was organizing the closet and was quite confused when I told him "Do NOT use these!" They're too nice, I'm afraid to ruin them! Weird, I know.






I added labels. Hopefully this will keep it looking neat!

3. I love the Pioneer Woman! I'm making Pioneer Woman's 'beer braised beef" right now and it smells heavenly!  I had to use B's last two Fat Tire for the beer...hopefully he won't mind!




It still has 2 hours left and I cannot wait! If it tastes 1/2 as good as it smells, I'll be one happy carnivore!