About Me

My photo
Charlotte, North Carolina
I am starting out my social work career and my marriage. I write to relieve stress...mostly by sarcastically telling life stories.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fat and Happy

Does anyone else realize how often I use the term fat and happy? After an entire day of cooking my Mom and I successfully completed the Christmas day meal. We made everything we wanted except one thing because we ran out of time- my grandmother's angel biscuits.
You will note that our meal revolves around casseroles- plus enough mac & cheese for a small army. The rest of the meal is- turkey, squash casserole, cranberry sauce, dressing (not stuffing), and sweet potato casserole (with pecan topping not marshmallows). My brother thought he was going to throw up he ate so much! Most people would not worry about such a thing- but we have had a previous incident involving homemade lasagna. That is a story for another time ha ha.  
We also made chocolate chip pie- which I leave room for no matter how stuffed I am! We even posed for our required Christmas Eve pictures. My mom always forces us to take pictures when we are dressed up nice for the midnight Christmas Eve service. This time my husband even got to join in- but my dad was already at church.
And while this picture may be funny typically they are even worse. My brother and I are notorious for never taking serious pictures. We keep acting silly until my mom is at the point of breakdown for a nice picture and then we cave.
I am even annoying my brother at this point. Now we just have to make it through New Year's eve/my husband's birthday and all us women can join together on the post-holiday diet time.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This morning and throughout most of the day my Mom and I are officially going to make the Thanksgiving/Christmas meal. In our home both meals are the same. I have made most of the items for this meal- individually- but never the whole meal at once. I hope to learn from her expertise.

Yesterday, we finally made cinnamon rolls from the legendary (at least in our home) Pioneer Woman. My Mom introduced me to Pioneer Woman several years ago. She was one of the first blogs I ever read and I truly believe she is amazing. I think I want her to adopt me.

My husband gave me her first cookbook last week just as a surprise gift. I may or may not have told him that it is a sacrilege that her second cookbook is about to come out and I still didn't have the first one. Anyway, most people who read her blog know about her famous cinnamon rolls. They are her go-to Christmas present for lots of people and her recipe makes a billion rolls. We halved the recipe and still had 6 pans worth!!

Waiting for rolls to rise

Fresh out of the oven gooeyness

Add maple icing= perfection
I'm telling you I could live in pioneer woman's kitchen year round. One more shining example of why I trust her recipes- As I was looking through her cookbook my husband noticed her meatloaf recipe. Currently, I usually use Paula Dean's meatloaf recipe- but how does Pioneer Woman make it better? She adds bacon under her ketchup topping.

This woman is a genius- as long as you don't mind getting "jiggly" as she likes to say.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Home for the Holidays

Well, we have officially flown back to the state of Texas for Christmas. This is the first year that my husband has been able to join in on the Christmas festivities with me. It is always difficult to figure out holidays when we have family all over the country.

Mom already had the tree decorated and the presents wrapped under the tree

But since we are in Texas my world now revolves around "tex-mex" food. I would literally be 300 pounds if I lived out here. I absolutely love Mexican food- and Texas is my holy grail. My parents lived in Texas 28 years ago when my brother was born. My dad completed seminary out here.

One of the restaurants they loved is called Joe T. Garcias. Joe T.'s was almost a family legend as we grew up. My parents would always talk about it as one of the few places they could afford to eat at with a measly budget. My brother was too young to remember it and I never lived in Texas. When my parents moved out here it was a must that they bring the kids to eat this yummy food.

Since then my brother and I have been hooked and always request a visit out to Fort Worth for this food. This year it was time to allow my husband the pleasure of Joe T's. Yum Yum!
Joe T's has been open since the 1930s- it is an institution in this area. When my parents first started eating here (in the early 80s) they literally walked through the kitchen to get to a table. Now Joe T's is enormous with a "fiesta garden" in the back.
Often times there is a line to get in and you have to wait outside- but we are excited! Just look at those faces! In the summer this line can wrap around the building- especially if a TCU game is the same day.
The food is simple and delicious. No menu is given- you have two choices. Either you eat family style enchiladas or fajitas. We always- and I mean always- get the enchiladas. Every one's favorite part of the meal is the above nachos. They are magical and simple and divine.
Look at all that food! This is even one of those establishments that only takes cash. We were also serenaded by two men with guitars on this trip. Of course, we heard Feliz Navidad no less than five times while we were there. Our table requested Silent Night and they sang every verse to us- in Spanish. It was amazing!! My husband approved of the meal- of course, if he had not approved he would have been shunned from the family. Smart man ha ha. As we drove back east toward Dallas we were all feeling fat and very happy!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bad Luck

My husband and I always seem to run into little "issues" when we are out and about. Case in point- going to Biltmore. Hubby spent weeks trying to find me a nice hotel and planning the trip to surprise me for Christmas.

Hubby had planned a king suite bedroom where a hot tub is actually in your room. He was already plotting sitting in the hot tub and watching TV at the same time- he was practically giddy over this idea. We arrive at the hotel- and granted, it is a nicer name brand hotel (I will resist saying which one it is). As soon as we open the door and look in the room he is already irritated because the hot tub is actually in the bathroom- with no TV in sight. Plus it looks like it is from 1982- I wish I had taken a picture- it was an odd pink color and when we turned on the water I am convinced it would have taken an hour to fill up that tub.

We decided to go to dinner and forget about it. We drove out to downtown Asheville and had a nice dinner. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a gas station to get my husband his necessary supply of cookies and milk (I have explained the obsession in other posts). When we get into our room my husband finds out that the fridge is broken. Well, now he is irritated- you are messing with his cold milk supply. But- he takes it in stride and fills up a trashcan with ice because we are classy like that.

Then we attempt to figure out the 1980s pink hot tub again- and in the process we realize that the shower head doesn't work. Great- so you have now messed with the milk supply and I can't even take a shower in the morning. So, we call downstairs to report that our fridge and shower is broken and they report they will send someone up.

This is when bad goes to worse- the "helper" they sent was a young (quite frankly) stoner looking kid. He comes to the door and- no joke- says, "I hear your shower is broken, where is the shower"? Um- Einstein last time I checked most showers are located in the bathroom. At this point my husband, who throughout the years has learned to manage a bit of a temper, walks to me and reports what the stoner "helper" said to him and reports, "I can't do this". To illustrate this point- Hubby's face is now a lovely shade of red.

I go into the bathroom and watch said helper just wiggle all of the handles. We already did all of this but I let him feel helpful and do it himself. At this point he reports that the hotel is fully booked and he does not know what to do- and leaves. Thanks buddy.

Now, I don't know if I have ever mentioned this- but I don't really like people. I have an aversion to having to talk to strangers. But- in this situation I took control because I am pretty sure my husband would have killed someone. I marched downstairs and- politely asked them to find us another hotel. They helped us find a hotel at the same rate- but without the hot tub. At this point, we really didn't care what it was.

When we arrive at the new hotel we were both a little ill and not ready for any more nonsense. At this point- the story turns around. First off- this hotel had a fire blazing, warm cookies, and a beautiful Christmas tree when we walked in. Second- It is amazing how one person can make you feel so much better because they have a little knowledge of customer services. The lady who checked us in was happy, bubbly, and basically started telling us all about her family.

We realize that her daughter is trying to live where we live. At this point she finds out that we have had to give up our hot tub dreams because of the price. Well, she just finds this unacceptable and after thinking about it, gives us a king suite- with a hot tub- at our original price. Score!

When we get upstairs the room is AMAZING. There is a whole living room with a nice (not 1980s pink) hot tub with a TV, couch, and comfy chair. The bedroom is a whole other room- an actual suite. Then there was a real bathroom- with a working shower. Ahh- it's the little things in life. And just like that the trip turned around.

Hey at least it makes for an amusing story!
Oh- and this is my husband showing his true goofy self as he opens his Christmas gift- in our fancy hotel living room. I got him a Nook Touch- if you are poor and can't afford an IPad- like me- then this is a nice substitute. He has really enjoyed it- as the face shows you. Haha

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Yes, I have been a slacker with the blogging. I apologize for having nothing creative to talk about. Between working and trying to find Christmas presents I never seem to have time in the day. This weekend I got my Christmas gift from my husband. A weekend in Asheville to see the Biltmore Estate.

If you are not from North Carolina you may not know what Biltmore is. It is the largest privately owned home in America. I have been about a thousand times to see Biltmore and I still love it. Nothing compares- in the winter it has Christmas magic and in the spring the gardens make you feel like you should have on a princess ball gown as you walk thorough your roses and tulips.

Anyway, this year he wanted to take me to see all the Christmas lights and trees. I was very upset when I got into the home- all prepared with my fancy camera- taking this picture:
And attempting to adjust my horrible lighting when a lady informed me that no pictures are allowed. Seriously! No pictures- boo. I thought about going rogue and sneaking around- but then I thought I would get kicked out and I restrained myself.

If you get the chance to go they actually only have one real Christmas tree in the house. It is in the dining room. It is HUGE- I really can't even describe it. It is easily 20-25 feet, two draft horses bring it to the front door, and it takes 40 men and women to carry it into the house. They actually have two a year because the first one starts to die before the Christmas tours are over.

Anyway, hubby and I had to stop picture taking- at least till we got to the animals. Which, if you know us at all, is our favorite part anyway.

I will touch the donkey- I will touch the donkey

Best picture ever- he is even smiling!

Retired draft horse- Bert
We also made a friend- a baby goat who was being bullied. Enter the offenders:
This bag contains the hay they eat- this black goat will head butt any goat who comes near the food- including the baby. Well, I'm sorry, but this is just not allowed. So, hubby got out the hay (I'm not dumb enough to put my hand in there!) and I feed the baby.
Which led to:
So he doesn't exactly look happy- nor is this probably allowed- but really if you had the chance to hold a baby goat you would take advantage also.

On the way home we also saw a carriage ride coming back to the barn
We got pricing because we suddenly realized that you can actually ride horses on the Biltmore grounds. One package includes a 3 hour ride with a picnic lunch in a scenic view area. Um- our next trip is planned.

We wish we had the time to stay till night so we could see all the trees lit up. Maybe one year...but, if you live in the area this place really is beautiful this time of year. I highly recommend it!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Black Friday

I would now like to take one post to complain. Prepare yourselves.

Every year my mom calls me looking for a "list". What do you want for Christmas? For a long time now my answer is always "I have no idea". Really, once you get past the "believing in Santa Claus" years what do you really need? It's not like I am going to pee my pants over an American Girl doll anymore.

I digress- this year I still had no idea what I wanted. Then, finally I decided I would take the plunge and use my money on a nice pair of leather boots. The ones that all the cute girls are wearing right now. I knew this would be a challenge as I have been cursed with the man calves from hell.

Well, my first issue is that every boot I like is WAY to expensive. These boots from J. Crew are probably my favorites and they are only- oh- $400. Ha ha- never gonna happen. Surely this means I have amazing taste though, right?

But I had high hopes- I will find boots on Black Friday sale! I ventured out into the madness with one of my friends and proceeded to go to at least five shoe stores and try on at least 20 boots. And what do I find- the man calves from  hell prevented every boot I tried on to zip, pull up, wedge on, etc. I wanted to scream!

Seriously, you know those people you see who look like they have been poured into their pants and now look like a stuffed sausage? Well, who knew that your calf could also look that way when it is flopping over a boot zipper. Gross.

I now believe I could be a millionaire if I made nice wide-calf boots. Now I am being subjected to Internet surfing for hours to find boots. I still have hopes though! I will find a cute boot!

P.S- please tell me I am not the only one with this issue or I officially just sounded like a complete nut job.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone enjoyed a good Thanksgiving with family and friends. I, of course, enjoyed it by jumping the gun and decorating for Christmas. I may or may not have bought my Christmas tree the weekend before Thanksgiving. I may or may not have scared the salesman because we were the first people there. I will neither confirm nor deny these allegations.

We also discovered that trying to fit a 6 foot tree into a town home is not exactly easy. The tree had to be wedged into a corner because our furniture is to big. I was pretty excited though. I even have gifts already wrapped!
I have my stockings hung and the other decorations around the house. We went to my in-laws home for Thanksgiving this year and my husband's mom even surprised us with an early Christmas gift- a nativity set:
I knew I couldn't afford one this year so it was a nice gift. This set was even made in Italy so I feel nice and fancy. We had a good time at Thanksgiving- I even brought one of my southern butter-laden casseroles and it was almost entirely eaten! 6 pounds of squash casserole demolished- I think that is a success- but really who doesn't like a dish with 2 full sticks of butter in it?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

So busy!

I feel like I have not updated in weeks. The new job is going well- but with trainings and trying to go out to do sessions with my kids I am working 10-12 hour days right now. It is kind of exhausting!

This weekend was the first time in ages that my husband and I had off- with no plans. It is a miracle! We got out Christmas stuff- ok I got out Christmas fun while my husband reminded me it wasn't even Thanksgiving yet. I just couldn't hold it in any longer!

I also went to the grocery store for Thanksgiving supplies. We are eating with my husband's side of the family and I offered to make one of my dishes that they don't usually make- squash casserole. Do you know how many squash you have to buy for 6 pounds- about a million!

I was also sucked into another kit like the whoopie pie- I'm telling you they call to me:
A pumpkin bread kit- amazing! I made it into a bundt cake form but you could also make a bread loaf, muffins, etc. It is really good. My husband has been devouring it.

I also became annoyed because I just cannot find a "first year of being married" ornament that I like. My mom did send me a neat idea- but I don't know if I can count it as an ornament.
This article was from Better Homes and Gardens. Basically, every year this family takes the bottom inch that is cut off their Christmas Tree and decorates it to hang from the mantel. They have been married 19 years. I think it is such a neat idea and will show off our many years together by the time we are at 19!

P.S.- IF you use fake trees as your Christmas tree don't even get me started. The only weird thing about our tree is that the place where we bought ours has "special" tree stands. The tree stands have a stick in the middle of them so this place drills a hole in the tree trunk to set it on- hence the hole in my tree inch thing. I may just use that hole to put ribbon through or just ignore it. It adds charm right??

Sunday, November 13, 2011


This weekend has been really great so far. One of my friends from graduate school came back to visit. We spent hours on Sunday at the Southern Christmas Show. For those of you that don't live in this area- let me explain what that is.

Imagine the biggest place ever- now fill it with every Christmas decoration known to man- and you have somewhat of an idea of what the Southern Christmas Show is. I went on the hunt for two things- a Christmas tree topper and these swirly glittery things that my mom puts in our tree and yet we have never found again.

I was successful on both fronts! I was nervous about finding a tree topper. I like stars and my husband likes angels- so there was already a dilemma. First off, I saw no angels- anywhere. I thought that was kind of odd. So, instead I looked at the stars and tried to find one that looked like him.
It is made with twine and already has lights built in. It will look great in our farm that we will own one day- at least that is how I tried to convince my husband and get his approval! Actually he really liked it- thank goodness!

I was even more excited to find my swirly things for the tree. My mom and I have been looking for them for years. Hers have become so old that they are losing their glitter and they are breaking. I finally found a booth at the Southern Christmas Show that had them. And not just one kind- tons of colors!

I got a pack of gold and my friend got some red ones- and we traded. I always liked them because when you separate them and add them to the tree- one at a time- they add just a little sparkle. Plus I feel fancy.

And last- but not least- I made my Christmas wreath. I had the urge to make it early- why? Oh, because my adorable fall wreath fell off my door- in the wind- and broke in two. Yeah- I was not a happy camper.

But my new wreath is pretty amazing- if I do say so myself! It took me FOREVER to finish but it was so worth it.
It is all made out of felt. I made the felt poinsettia flowers on Friday night and spent HOURS doing the white felt on Saturday night. Thankfully, my husband was camping with his friends so he does not know quite how crazy I was to start this project.

I got both ideas from pinterest- the wreath tutorial was from-

Now, I will admit that her wreath was only 12 inches. I made a big wreath- so if you make it prepare yourself to look like a crazy person when you buy your white felt. When you think you have enough- buy another stack- and that may come close. I made my circle template out of CDs- her template was only 3 inch circles.

The poinsettia flowers were a little easier- well as far as time.-

I think I will make more so I can have the ornaments also. Happy Crafting!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Because I believe I was born in the wrong generation...

Because I believe I should have been born in another generation- for the music and bellbottoms alone....

And because any member of the Beatles can ALWAYS make me feel better...
P.S. Yes I am aware that the lyrics are not exactly right...I may have cut some corners.


Imagine there's no Heaven 
It's easy if you try 
No hell below us 
Above us only sky 
Imagine all the people 
Living for today 

Imagine there's no countries 
It isn't hard to do 
Nothing to kill or die for 
And no religion too 
Imagine all the people 
Living life in peace 

You may say that I'm a dreamer 
But I'm not the only one 
I hope someday you'll join us 
And the world will be as one 

Imagine no possessions 
I wonder if you can 
No need for greed or hunger 
A brotherhood of man 
Imagine all the people 
Sharing all the world 

You may say that I'm a dreamer 
But I'm not the only one 
I hope someday you'll join us 
And the world will live as one 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Christmas Crafts

Since it is our first year being married I have suddenly realized I have absolutely nothing ready for Christmas. I never wanted to get a tree until we were married. I love everything about real Christmas trees and I just wanted to save that memory for our first Christmas together.

But now I have realized how much stuff I need to buy- lights, a tree stand, stockings, a tree skirt. The list seems to just go on and on- just to get the basics! My mom always talks about how on my parent's first year married she had no Christmas ornaments for her tree- I guess my dad being in seminary did not help them have a lot of money! Due to this I have gotten at least one ornament every year of my life.

I have a lot of ornaments- but they are stuck in Texas. So much for planning! Looks like I will have to buy at least a few ornaments this year.

The one thing I have had fun doing lately is making our Christmas stockings. Michael's is one store I really should not go into- and yet I can't resist it. The last time I went they were Christmas crazy and they even had kits for making your own stocking- and obviously I had to make them!
I have made several other Christmas crafts- but since they will end up being Christmas presents for our friends and family I figure I shouldn't post those projects!

On a completely different topic- I have mentioned before that I have a very loud husband and I would just like to give a shining example of this. On Sunday, we went to Sam's Club together. Upon walking in he was so busy getting out his membership card that he left his aviator sunglasses on. How dumb do people look when they wear sunglasses inside?

Then he immediately noticed the IPad 2 stand and proceeded to scream/whine- "I want an IPad 2". Cue everyone around us to turn around and stare at the crazy guy with sunglasses on whining in the entrance of Sam's Club- oh and the girl next to him.

Then I proceeded to inform him- "You are aware we are in public- and you still have your sunglasses on". His response- "yep, but it is just to fun to embarrass you". Lovely

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cooking Crazy

This weekend was kind of busy because my dad came into town. I hate that my parents live so far away but it defiantly makes visits even more worthwhile and fun. I also went a little crazy because I went into one of my cooking modes.
Why is my brother reading a video game magazine?
When my dad was here- which would have been the logical time to go cooking crazy- I made simple meals like this one. Manicotti, caesar salad, and a yummy french loaf of bread. Plus I had to get my dad red wine. We don't really drink wine- so I am classy and served it up in a glass. Didn't really remember to register for wine glasses during the wedding phase- oops.

Instead I went cooking crazy on Sunday. When I decide to go cooking crazy I end up with way to much food- and never enough people to eat it. I suppose I should actually plan a party when I do things like that but I never do. I then think my husband can just invite his friends over the day of "to watch a football game". Not a good planner.
This is the leftovers- that is right leftovers- of my meal. I made a spicy pulled pork, squash casserole, rice, and yeast rolls. Did you know that they only sell pork butts in like 8 pound quantities- yeah me neither. Planning- must learn planning skills.

I also started my new job! It seems good so far- just going through all the trainings and orientations that always go along with a mental health position. I think it will be nice because it seems that, other than my therapy sessions, I will be able to work from home. I can't believe I can finally say that I will have "therapy sessions".

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween! Now I get to go eat the leftover sweets!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Since we are now a week away from Halloween we decided to carve our pumpkins on Sunday. I actually had two to carve this year- I am not sure if I will do that again. My hand has scratches all over it from trying to scrape, clean, and cut out the pumpkins.

We carve pumpkins every year for Halloween. I think it became a tradition without us even realizing it.
I made the owl and the flame face and hubby made the skeleton- which is fitting considering how much he loves Slash from Guns and Roses. This was the first time I made a pumpkin where the nose is the stem- it was not easy. You get so used to the convenience of cutting around the stem that it was odd doing it another way.

Also for the first time this year I took out our pumpkin seeds and roasted them. I don't think I have ever had pumpkin seeds before. They taste a lot like sunflower seeds- without having the annoying part of taking off the shell.

You just lay them out on a cookie sheet to dry for about 24 hours. Coat in a few teaspoons of olive oil and season. I just used some seasoned salt and a little normal salt. Then you put them in a low heat oven for about an hour.

The Pioneer Woman calls the pumpkin seeds pepitas and she has prettier pictures than me. Plus she has ideas for other seasonings to use if you are feeling adventurous. Plus her blog is the best! She is part of why I thought blogging would be fun to do.

Oh and I almost forgot! I passed my clinical therapy exam on Monday! Thanks for the prayers- I'm sure they helped.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Whoopie Pies

My husband's dad and step- mom live in the New England area. His step mom was raised in Maine and the first time I went to visit them she introduced me to an amazing thing- The Whoopie Pie. I had never even heard of a whoopie pie. It is a dessert that actually originated in that area.

It is basically two mini cakes squished together with icing- and it is sweet and delicious! I really don't understand how the south has not learned about this. I mean pretty much anything sweet, decadent, and loaded with calories is a Southern food staple.

Lately I have seen a lot of recipes for whoopie pies, especially pumpkin ones- like this one from Martha Stewart:
The bad thing about these recipes is they all seem to have a cream cheese frosting in the middle.  I could live off of cream cheese frosting but as much as I love cream cheese equals how much my husband abhors it- so no yummy pumpkin whoopie pies :(

At the grocery store yesterday I was amazed to find a whoopie pie kit and I just could not resist. So for those of you who don't know the wonderfulness of a whoopie pie, there is now even a boxed version for your eating pleasure!

First you mix your batter:
Then you place teaspoon size dollops onto a cookie sheet about two inches apart:
Side note- your whoopie pies taste better if you prepare them with soaking wet hair. Its a fact. After they are on your baking sheet you kind of squish them down some:
Then they bake in the oven for about seven minutes. When they come out they are nice and pouffy.
Then you smear your frosting, squish them together, and learn about the best part of this kit! If you don't know what funfetti icing is you have missed out in life. When I was little they sold funfetti icing- which is basically vanilla icing with rainbow colored chips in the icing. It was amazing- and when I wasn't having cheesecake for my birthday many times funfetti icing was involved instead.

This kit is completed by rolling your icing in funfetti sprinkles- now you know you want some!

They are pretty cute if I do say so myself!

*P.S. Tomorrow morning I am taking my, very intimidating, therapy licensure test. The test is $300 to take and I really can't afford to pay that again- so please send prayers that I pass on the first go around!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saying Goodbye

I have never been great at saying goodbye. This weekend I made the plunge and decided to 'say goodbye' to my long wedding hair. I have been blessed, or cursed- depending on how you look at it- with extremely think wavy hair. Once it gets to a certain point it becomes difficult to manage. I guess that point is around here:
On a daily basis I was having to rip out tennis ball size tangles and, well, that gets painful and old quickly. I decided to donate my hair to Locks of Love since I knew I had at least ten inches I wanted to cut off. 

"Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces for financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis".

So next week off it goes, my insanely thick braid of hair. This weekend I also have to say goodbye to my oldest friend. We have been friends for about 18 years- that is pretty amazing in the girl world. She is moving up north for a really cool opportunity for her.

Tonight, we had her going away party and while I am very sad to see her go- I hope she enjoys the new life! 
But I hope she comes back soon- it is hard to find such amazing friends!!