Sunday, December 30, 2007

Best Laid Plans

I always start the week off so great. I make a meal plan, I go grocery shopping for the non-perishables we need for the week, as well as the perishable items for the first 3-4 meals of the week. And then...and then...

Then things like last minute dinner invitations or Ricky or I (or both) not feeling well occur and throw my whole plan into a tizzy. I really should start planning only 5 or 6 meals a week rather than 7. On the off nights we can have "Fend for Yourself" night or go out. It would make more sense.

Anyway, I've revised the meal plan for the week. Chili is simmering on the stove and we'll have the crockpot enchiladas on Tuesday. Don't ask me about the rest of the week yet, I have no idea how that will play out.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Am I the only one who does this?

I don't know what it is, perhaps impatience, perhaps not wanting to cook for one, but for some reason I have this habit of going to the grocery store and then getting take out on the way home.

Like tonight for instance. We had very little food in the house. Well, we had a bunch, but when I started cleaning out the fridge I realized most of it was unrecognizable, so then we didn't have very much. So I went to the grocery store. I filled up a cart. I brought several bags of food home. And on the way home I thought to myself, "Self, I need some dinner."

Now, I had just bought many things which would have made a fine meal. And if I didn't feel like cooking for real, there were even Lean Cuisines and other fast and easy Meals For One in the various bags that littered my truck. But instead, Self said to me, "Laura, let's stop at Super Burrito!"

Of course, if you don't live in the Portland area you don't know the joy that is Super Burrito Express (and even if you do live here, you may not know it, though it has won CitySearch awards for the past few years). It used to be a major dive, but it had the best Mexican food. They've since torn down the dilapidated building and Super Burrito now resides in a nice, new, clean and shiny building, but it still serves the best Mexican food around. And I mean, real Mexican food, not Taco Bell-esque fake Mex. The only white guy who works there is the owner!

Since Super Burrito is so amazing, once Self introduced the idea I really couldn't fight it. So off to Super Burrito I went for a wet burrito plate. And boy was it ever satisfying.

But I still can't believe that my body and brain couldn't be satisfied with one of the many things that I later unloaded into the cupboards and refrigerator.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Meal Plan, 12/30-1/5

  • Sun: Crockpot Enchiladas
  • Mon: DIY
  • Tues: Meatloaf
  • Wed: Moroccan Chicken (crockpot)
  • Thurs: Lasagna
  • Fri: Out to eat - Todai - for my birthday!
  • Sat: WW Mac and Cheese

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Product Rec: Slippers

I got the most fantastic slippers for Christmas

The "Foot Duvet" from Restoration Hardware is practically perfect. It's filled with down (and feathers, according to the tag!) and then lined with a poly plush that is so soft I can't even begin to describe it. Now, one would think that a down filled slipper would make one's feet really hot, but they actually just keep my feet the right temperature - not too hot, not too cold. I love them.
The only down side is the soles aren't real cushy so they don't protect my feet and legs from the tile floor induced aches, and you definitely don't want to wear them outside. But as far as keeping my feet warm, they are perfect.

Recipe Rec: Shrimp Lousiane

This recipe came from my mom's friend, Marguerite. I had a pound of thawed shrimp that I needed to use up, so I gave this recipe a shot tonight. It's definitely a keeper! Very fast, easy, and good.

1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
2 cups milk
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp parley, minced
1 pound shrimp

saute the onion and garlic in butter until tender. Blend in flour, salt, and chili powder, then add milk. Stir until boiling. Add ketchip, parsley and shrimp; stir until shrimp is cooked through. Serve with rice or noodles.

  • You can use about as much onion as you like, but I don't recommend skipping it. And you know that if I, the queen of leaving onions out, tell you to use the onion, you better use it.
  • You can use as much garlic as you want but again, I wouldn't leave it out. We like garlic a lot, so I used about 4 cloves. I'll probably even add a little more next time.
  • Get everything ready before you start. This recipe goes fast. Honestly, it took me longer to prep it than it did to cook it. I'd say cooking time, start to finish, was about 15 minutes. So make sure everything is chopped, peeled and measured before you start. Also, once you put the milk in you have to stir constantly, so measure the ketchup and parsley ahead of time and have the shrimp ready to go and close by.
  • I used dried parsley flakes; maybe it would be better with fresh, I don't know. I'm not sure the parsley adds much other than a green color. Does parsley really have a taste?
  • The recipe I have says to serve over rice but we didn't have any* so I used a Trader Joe's garden rotini noodle and I have to say, we enjoyed it. So much so that I'll probably always serve it over noodles rather than rice.

So there you have it. An easy, yummy, fast meal for those nights when you have no clue what to cook.

*It's hard to believe that we didn't have rice in the house. We practically lived on the stuff for the first 6-12 months of our marriage! So much so, that Ricky brought 10 pounds of it home from work one day.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Busy Week

Jan 2 - Massages at Dosha, our Christmas gift to each other
Jan 4 - my birthday, dinner at Todai's and the sequal to National Treasure
Jan 5 - Grease sing-a-long, one of our Christmas gifts (I'm completely stoked and Ricky's probably trying to figure out how to get out of it!)
Jan 7 - first day back to school

Busy week!

Santa doesn't know me very well, does he?

Obviously he thought I was good this year, 'cause I made out like a bandit!!

We always start our Christmas celebration with Ricky's family on Christmas eve. Ricky, his parents, his two sisters (Tawnya and Janelle), Janelle's boyfriend/fiance/soon to be husband (not totally sure of the status on that one, we just call him Joe), our 3 month old nephew (Jeremy) and I gathered for a dinner of oyster stew and pizza around 7 on Monday. Oyster stew is really more like oyster soup, and it may sound odd but it's their tradition, which has become my tradition, and we like it.

After dinner we got down to packages, and Janelle played Santa, as usual. Ricky and I got some really great things - a new bread knife and a gift card to New Seasons from his parents, shirts for Ricky from Janelle and Joe, a starbucks gift card, mug and barnes and noble gift card for me from J&J, and milk chocolate bing cherries from Tawnya and Jeremy.

The best gifts, though, were the looks on Tawnya and Cheryl's faces when they opened their gifts. T has been wanting to take Jeremy in to get his portrait done professionally, so we all went in and got her a large gift certificate to Kiddie Kandids to do that. Additionally, I made a frame that matches the nursery theme (jungle).

Cheryl's look was probably even more priceless. The kids all went together to get her these square chargers she wanted for her new formal dining room. We included with it a large Pottery Barn gift card. She was stunned, and we all know she's going to go crazy with it after the holidays. She loves Pottery Barn, and with two new rooms to decorate she'll have a field day.

After opening, we all sat around chatting until about 11. It was a really great night.

Christmas morning Ricky and I got up and headed over to my mom and dad's to finish out our Christmas. We cleaned up there as well - a gift card for two nights at a bed and breakfast in Seaside, Oregon; tool sets for our vehicles (in case we ever break down - or in the case of our stupid car, when we break down); tickets to a Grease sing-a-long; and other fun things like clothes and books.

As if that weren't enough, there were gifts from grandparents! By days end we had several gift cards to various places, pajamas and shirts, Christmas ornaments, and of course the knowledge that we are both very loved (and very spoiled by everyone who loves us).

After our breakfast of sourdough pancakes (yum!!) we all headed out to "the farm," where my great aunt and her granddaughter live with the grandson-in-law and the two great-granddaughters. We visited with my exteneded family and played a new game (Faces, if anyone is interested - it's pretty fun). Then we left there for Ricky's aunt's house, where we visited with all of his extended family and joined them for dinner.

All in all we had a wonderful Christmas. I won't lie, the gifts are great, but more than that we enjoy the time we get to spend with our families, visiting, catching up, and just enjoying each other's company.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Concert Church

Thiswill probably get long, and it will offend some people. I don't mean to be offensive, but after thought, discussion and prayer, Ricky and I came to this conclusion a couple of years ago, and since it is my blog, I get to share my opinion.

Last night we went to a church service for "Christmas Eve." We went with Ricky's family, and it was a good time - dinner at Shari's first, and then the service, and after the service we all sat around and talked for a while before we left. I got to play with and hold my nephew, and he cuddled with me and was just a love. It was nice.

But I hate it when I go to a church service expecting to worship and I get a concert. Seriously, there were several times that the ensemble on stage was singing and worshipping, and the words weren't even on the screen - it was obvious we weren't meant to sing along.

And don't get me started on the over $100,000 worth of lighting instruments that were hanging on the ceiling. I counted at least 50, and at $2000 a pop...well, that could feed and clothe a lot of homeless people.

I hear that this church does a lot of good nationally and globally, but all I could think about was how much more good they could be doing if they got rid of the unnecessary things, like concert lighting, and focused more on serving the world.

But it's not just this church. Ricky and I left our former church because we felt like there was a lot of mismanagement of funds, being fiscally irresponsible. Buying things that were unnecessary, spending millions and millions of dollars on new buildings and whatnot. Trying to be cool. Having a good reputation, being popular. Paul tells us we're to be in, not of, the world, and yet I feel like a lot of these churches are of the world. They're doing the things that the world deems to be cool and popular. They've got their priorities out of whack.

It made us realize that, really, home church is the way it should be. Home church - where there is no overhead because the group meets in someone's home, the way the early church did. Where all of the money that one gives to the church goes to the work of the church, rather than light bills and a mortgage and the heating bill. And certainly not toward buying Elation Professional robotic lighting.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Meal Plan: 12/23-12/26

Sunday, 23rd: Super Burrito Express

Monday, 24th: Oyster Stew and Pizza with the In Laws

Tuesday, 25th: I don't even know if I can list it all! Traditional Christmas dinner should suffice.

Wednesday, 26th: Shrimp Lousiane

Thursday, 27th: Fried chicken, sourdough biscuits and gravy at Mom and Dad's

Friday, 28th: DIY

Saturday, 29th: Turkey Chili

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Key Productions: As Is

As Is was produced by my friend Troy and his theatre company, Key Productions. After 10 years of marriage and 2 children, Troy came out as a gay man. It was something he'd fought for years and tried to change, but found he couldn't, and he's been much happier since changing the direction of his life. When he came out, he decided to start Key Productions, focusing on gay rights and the tolerance of gay people in society.

This was the second show his company did, and it was beautiful. It's about a man who learns he is HIV+, and how the people in his life (including him) handle that. There were some wonderfully touching moments, some incredibly witty moments, and some moments that just broke my heart. I, of all people, actually cried - and those who know me know that I only cry at sports movies and sporting events!

The script is incredibly well written, the cast was perfect, and the direction was great. All in all, it was a wonderful show and I'm so glad my husband and I got the chance to enjoy it.


I haven't felt well all week. I've done a lot of sleeping and popping various drugs this weekend, and I think I may be getting better. My throat has been killing me for going on 2 weeks now, and it just zaps all my strength. It feels like there's a piece of glass stuck in around my left tonsil. WebMD diagnosed me with tonsilitis, strep, walking pneumonia, or cancer. It seems to be clearing up today, though, so I'm guessing it's not cancer. I have a dr appt on Tuesday - just my routine once a year checkup - so I'll get it checked out then, just in case.

Friday the 14th was Ricky's and my 5th anniversary. In some ways it's hard to believe it's been 5 years already. In other ways, it seems like much longer than that. Up until this year we've always spent the whole day together, going wine tasting, doing some sort of fun activity (usually a movie or live show), having dinner, and then watching "our movie" (our wedding video) while sharing a bottle of wine and various yummy cheeses. This year, however, our plans got kind of jumbled due to a death in the family. Uncle Jim, my grandpa's brother, passed away on the 8th and they delayed the service until the 15th to let some out of town family make it. I had to work on the 14th so Ricky and I had planned to make the 15th our anniversary day. With the service, we ended up kind of splitting it between the evening of the 14th and the evening of the 16th, and we still haven't done our wine tasting.

On the 14th, my uncle flew in from Arizona to be here for the service. That would be Geoff, my dad's brother. Ricky and I spent the evening at dinner (Rock Bottom Brewery, it was amazing) and then we went to see a show, As Is, produced by my friend Troy Lakey and his company, Key Productions. More on that later. Then on the 15th we went to the service, which was very nice, and spent the evening visiting with mom, dad and Uncle Geoff. We hadn't seen Geoff in about 3 years, so it was really nice to spend some time with him.

Today I went to breakfast with mom, dad and Uncle Geoff while Ricky was at work. Then I hung out with them, watching football, until it was time to take Geoff to the airport. When Ricky got home from work we had wine, cheese, bread and cold cuts for dinner while watching our movie.

So it was a really good anniversary, mostly. And thankfully I'm feeling better. I'll probably head to bed early tonight as I have a long day tomorrow.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Resolutions, part 3

I managed to get two loads of laundry folded and put away last night, along with another load that's in the dryer waiting to be dried and folded when i get home and a load in the wash. The kitchen is picked up and wiped down, and the bathroom isn't looking too bad either. The living is another story, but I'll get to it...eventually.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Grandma's Birthday

My grandma turned 80 this year, so the family put together a bit of a party. Grandma knew about the party - dinner with the family that would be there at a local Italian restaurant. What she didn't know is that there were some surprise guests.

Ricky and I left late on Oct 18 (yes, I'm a bit late in blogging about this) for South Bend. We flew from PDX to OHare and then onto SBN. We ran into some troubles along the way, but managed to make it in time. We arrived the morning on Oct 19.

Aunt Robin and Lindsey picked us up at the airport and then we all went to meet Grandma and Mom (who'd flown in the day before) at Panera for breakfast. Grandma, however, had no idea we were coming.

We sat and waited, and when they walked in Grandma did a double take. Now, mind you, this isn't the first time I've flown in and surprised her, but everyone had made such a big deal about the fact that I have a real job now and couldn't take the time off that she really didn't expect it. When she realized what was going on, the tears started.

We had a nice breakfast, and then went back to Grandma's and visited. Well, first Ricky and I took a nap, then we visited!

Saturday there were more surprised. Cousin Nancy and her husband Tom came up from Indianapolis, as did Cousin Karen, her husband Jim, and their daughter Rhonda. All in all I think there were about 30 of us for dinner that night.

Sunday morning we all went to church (we took up two rows!) and then had brunch at Aunt Robin's. Tom and Nancy left that afternoon, and the rest of us prepared to go home. Uncle Rich and Aunt Belinda flew out early Monday morning, and Ricky and I had to head out Monday afternoon. Our flight home is a story in and of itself. I'm not going to post about it though as it still makes me angry (and I've never heard a peep back from United).

It was a wonderful weekend and I think Grandma had a really good birthday. I know I had a good time surprising her!

Oh - and one more surprise - we gave Patrick his graduation present; he's coming to see us this summer!

Meal Plan 12/9-12/15

So last week's meal plan really fizzled out. With the plays I ended up eating more Taco Bell and Super Burrito than anything else. I might have cooked one day last week, maybe. This week will be different!...right?

Sunday - chicken soup at Mom and Dad's
Monday - chicken helper
Tuesday - shrimp lousiane
Wednesday - homemade pizza
Thursday - chicken (or turkey) enchiladas
Friday - ??? Any ideas?
Saturday - I think we're eating out, in celebration of our anniversary

Thursday, December 6, 2007

fizzling out

All that momentum I had from the cleaning spree this weekend - gone.

Because of the plays (7 in two days!) I've been exhausted and running around like a mad woman. I'll definitely do it again, but the kids aren't the only ones who've learned from this experience. There are a lot of things I can do to make my life easier when we get to plays and I plan on employing those tactics next tri (which starts Monday).

So since I've been spending my spare time sewing, painting and buying wigs, I haven't done much in the way of picking up or cooking. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who's very understanding and has picked up the slack. Well, he doesn't cook, but at least we live near lots of take out places!

Tomorrow is a work day at school, where I'll be cleaning the room and getting all the props and costumes put away in preparation for a new group of students on Monday. Afterward I have a Christmas party to go to for the softball team, so no time to pick up tomorrow. I might do some tonight (after I nap) but I'll definitely be getting to it on Saturday. I'll start cooking again Sat too - Ricky's closing tonight and it seems like too much effort to cook just for me. I'll have a bowl of cereal or something.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

So far so good

Resolution update: 1 day down. House is still picked up, clothes are picked out through the end of the week, clothes from laundry were put away last night. It's a holiday miracle!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Meal Plan for 12/2-12/8

Sunday - Santa Fe Chipotle soup made by Bear Creek
Monday - Gnocchi with fresh marinara, salad
Tuesday - Pad Thai with chicken
Wednesday - some sort of shrimp dish, I'll get back to you on that one
Thursday - breakfast
Friday - DIY
Saturday - Turkey roast with veggies


I know, it's only the beginning of December. But I've already set my resolutions, and I figure as long as I've set them I might as well get started, right? There's no rule that i have to wait for January.

So my resolution is to be m0re organized. And that looks like this:

1) picking out clothes the night before
2) washing, drying, folding AND putting away the laundry
3) take the 15 minutes or so each night to declutter before going to bed
4) meal plan
5) exercise more and eat less

Ok, so that last one isn't necessarily about organization, but it will make me happier, and a happier person has more energy, and energy is what it takes to stay organized, right?

So I started yesterday - so far so good. Dishes were in the dishwasher, shoes picked up, table cleared before I went to bed. I cooked soup for dinner - something I decided to do at 2 pm, rather than the 5-oclock-mad-dash-to-the-store-because-I'm-starving dinner. Picked out my clothes last night (though I changed my mind this morning) and put away about 4 loads of laundry.

Product Rec: The Body Shop Oil Burner

After Mom came over yesterday and helped clean out our pig sty of a house, I realized our house has no smell. It doesn't smell bad (I don't doesn't, does it?) but it never really has any kind of a good smell to it, either. I always love it when you walk into someone's home and there's a scent - cookies, warm from the oven; bread baking; pine sol; something simmering on the stove.

So I went out yesterday in a hunt for something that would be subtle, that we could change on a whim, that wouldn't break the bank and that would fill the house with a yummy scent. I ended up with The Body Shop's oil burner and Home Fragrance Oil in Orange Clove.
Within 5 minutes the scent was filling the kitchen. Within 15 minutes, I could smell it in the back bedroom, with the door closed even! It wasn't overpowering or headache-inducing, but it was nice and cozy. Ricky and I really like it. I think I'll get another scent or two. The wonderful thing is that most of their scents are fruity or spicy rather than floral, so we have a lot to choose from. I can't stand floral scents!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I'm starting a new blog

Kasmira has inspired me. She is the author of the blog "What I Wore Today." I love to see the fun outfits she puts together. So, in addition to my ramblings here, I'm going to start doing a photo blog of what I wear. This is for a few reasons. 1) I can always use feedback. Ricky's never up when I get dressed, so he can't tell me if it looks ok or not. 2) Maybe by doing this I'll be forced to keep up on laundry and whatnot. 3) I've gotten lazy about putting together cute outfits. Knowing that the world is watching might help. 4) I need to start picking out things to wear the night before. Maybe this will help.

I'll start Monday. Look for it!

Down with Shutterfly

A friend of mine is very involved with an online Moms with Small Businesses community. One of the ladies in her community owns this business,, a sort of boutique for "alternative" kids' clothing. In the past couple of days, she received this message from, the online photo center:

It has come to our attention that you have registered the following domain name(s):skutterfly.comShutterfly name and designs are well known in the online photo service community. Shutterfly has expended considerable resources and time in developing consumer and industry recognition and goodwill in its SHUTTERFLY brand and design trademark, for online photographic services. It is clear that you are trying to capitalize on our very strong trademark rights in the Shutterfly Mark by using a confusingly similar domain name to divert traffic to your site. Your registration and use of this domain name infringes our client's trademark rights because it creates the likelihood of confusion, mistake or deception in that the public will be confused as to the source or sponsorship of the goods and/or services provided by you or affiliation with Shutterfly. This type of misrepresentation is specifically banned by existing federal statutes covered in the AntiCyberSquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), which also provides for statutory damages specifically directed toward domain names which infringe or dilute existing trademarks of up to $100,000.00 per infringing domain.

We hereby demand that you immediately discontinue use of this domain name and that you assign the domain name registration to Shutterfly, December 12, 2007.

Now, how ridiculous is that? Skutterfly could not be anymore different from Shutterfly. They sell kids' clothing, for goodness sakes, not photos. If anyone mistyped and got to Skutterfly on accident, they certainly wouldn't be tricked into buying from the wrong website, nor is there anyway that Skutterfly would be stealing business - if you're looking for photos, I doubt a onesie will satisfy your need.

I feel awful for this poor woman. She's worked so hard to build her business, and now Shutterfly wants to take it from her. And really, steal it from her - they aren't willing to compensate her for the money she's paid for the domain name or hosting. She is expected to just hand it over to them.

So I'm done with Shutterfly. I never used them much anyway, but this just seals the deal. I invite you to join me in my ban on their services.