Monday, May 31, 2010

Menu Monday, seafood style

It appears that seafood is the big theme this week. Not sure how that happened, but I've got no problem with it. I love shrimp and scallops. Both are yummy, healthy, and fairly cheap.

My Meals:

J's Meals:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Makeover Time

I am so happy to report that my little ol' blog has received a makeover!

I have to give all the credit to Sarah from Bon Blog Designs. She was a pleasure to work with and I am so pleased with the final product! If you're in the market for a new look for your blog, I'd highly recommend her!

If you're reading this in Google Reader, go here to check out the full makeover!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

the time I broke my elbow

Once upon a time during my junior year of college, when I was a just a little 20 year old, I went out in public looking like this...

I know you're probably wondering why I was looking so cool on this September evening back in 2004.

Why, I was off to the local roller rink for a night of wacky tacky roller skating...

A very natural thing for college girls to do on their Friday nights. Am I wrong?

And let's not ignore my pose in this photo. Apparently throwing gang signs in the air seemed appropriate on this night. (And yes KP, I am sharing this lovely picture of you with all of the world wide webs!) was a fun night of roller skating in our wacky and tackiest, and all was well in the night until the last 10 minutes when I was over by a table, STANDING STILL, and my feet sort of just went out from under me.

Let me repeat that for you...I was NOT SKATING. I was STANDING STILL. I am the girl who who broke her elbow by standing still and falling flat on her bottom.

I went to break my fall with my hands and the pressure went straight to my left elbow leaving me with a hairline fracture. So, my dear friend KP took me to the ER ...the saddest part was, I was still in my wacky tacky clothes, minus a few pieces. Off to the ER we went in my camo pants and tie dye.

After an x-ray and several hours of waiting, the doctor finally came in, to report that yes, my elbow was indeed fractured, and I'd be getting the largest temporary elbow cast in the history of the Rockingham Memorial Hospital.

I was not too happy about this. In fact, I may have had a bit a mental break down that weekend worrying about how I would survive for the rest of the semester with a broken elbow. I temporarily believed that my inability to wash my hair and put on my deodorant would be a good reason to drop our for the semester. Thank goodness I came to my senses.

And that, my friends, is the tale of the time I broke my elbow. Up until that point in my life, I had a lot of pride in the fact that I had never broken or sprained a bone; however, I was happy to trade in that pride to able to tell the story about the time I broke my arm by standing up, all while wearing camo and tie dye, and 3 multi colored scarves.

That is a much cooler story to share.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

(mostly) worldess wednesday

"I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us."
Anne Lamott

Monday, May 24, 2010

piano man

This weekend I traveled to Richmond to see my little brother in play in his piano recital.

He's quite the music man for 15 years old. He plays piano, drums, and guitar. And he's pretty good at each one. I feel lucky to live relatively nearby so I can be there to enjoy his concerts and recitals.

This is his 6th year (I think?) of playing piano. It's amazing listening to him play. It flows and sounds beautiful. He's come so far as a musician.

Don't judge his little messed up tie here. That would be my fault. I may or may not have tied his tie for him. This is a reminder to my dad: teach this boy to tie his own tie so I don't mess it up for him when I have to do it. Bless his little heart. He's just happy to have won a prize from his competition this past spring. He has no idea that his big sister messed up his tie.

And just for fun, here's one that Jason took of my mom and me.

*No Menu Monday this week. I promise to be back next Monday with a full menu!*

Sunday, May 23, 2010

hodge podge of a post

Here's what's been going on in our world...

1. We have a serious problem with m&m's in this home, especially the peanut kind. We go through two large bags a week. I think we might need an intervention.

2. Big, scary, state tests are this week. I am preparing myself to be bored out of my mind while I administer these this week. I have lots of confidence in my kiddos, though. They have worked hard all year, and I know they're going to do their best.

3. I ordered a zillion pairs of shoes from Zappos. More on that later this week after I make up my mind and decide which ones to keep.

4. Europe plans are coming together since the trip is just a few weeks away now. It looks like we've pretty much decided on Switzerland, Northern Italy, and Southern France for sure, and probably Austria. I am trying not to feel anxious and to relax, but it's hard to do that when I know that I'll be exploring another continent in a few weeks and I have about a thousand things to accomplish before then. I am still looking for some pants/shorts to take. Advice?

5. J continues to be a super gardener. We have now enjoyed lettuce from the garden, and we have more dill than we know what to do with. Any great recipes that call for dill? Share away.

6. Tonight is the LOST finale. I can't believe it all comes to an end tonight. There are so many crazy thoughts running through my head. With the way things went down on Tuesday's episode, I think that Jack won't end up being the next Jacob. It all just happened too fast and was too "easy." I am really thinking it might be Sawyer. And then there's Desmond...beautiful Desmond. However it all goes down tonight, I think he will be at the center of it. He seems yo b the "key." And then there's Kate. I'm gonna be majorly sad if Hurley, Sawyer, Jack or Desmond die. But Kate? I wouldn't be broke hearted if she was killed.

...sorry to bore all of you non-Losties. I'll stop now.

7. And finally, I need to share three of my favorite blog posts from this week.
Chris & Paige and their crazy dog Joey,
Becca from The Stanley Clan posted about her upcoming summer at camp,
& finally
My dear friend Kara shared this on her tumblr and I laughed until I cried.

And that's about it! Here's hoping this week is a fast one. Just 4 more stand between me and summer vacation.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


A friend shared this with us, and it's too good to not share with you guys...language isn't great, but it's hilarious.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Home Grown

Look at how happy this girl is!

I am happy not only because my salad was yummy, but I was even happier because the spinach in my salad came from our garden!

That's right, our very own garden! Remember a few months ago when our garden box looked like this?

Here it is now!

We have plenty of spinach and lettuce, and there are a few other things that are growing great, but not ready for harvest yet.

Doesn't this look yummy?

I can't wait for our tomatoes, snap peas, and zucchini. It's going to be a yummy summer in our home!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Very Pioneer Woman Menu Monday

My Meals:
J's Meals:

So, I think it's safe to say that this week's meals have been brought you by the Pioneer Woman. Or Prairie Woman, as my mother so lovingly calls her.

Friday, May 14, 2010

orzo pasta salad plus a swollen eye

This might be one of my more unique blog titles. I like when my blog posts have unique titles that (I would imagine) no one else has used before. If someone else has written a post before called "orzo pasta salad plus a swollen eye", I need to know.


Earlier this week I shared our menu for the week, and a few of you asked about my orzo pasta salad. I didn't share a link because this was a recipe I sort of made up in my head as I planned my meals for this week. I rarely create my own recipes, but sometimes I do. And sometimes, those recipes that I come up with on my own turn out to be incredible. This would be one of those times.

Let's begin with a box of orzo pasta. I bought the cheap stuff at my grocery store. No need to buy the fancy pants pasta.

Cook according directions on the box. While you've got this cooking, make your lemon dressing. I used this one by Pioneer Woman, but halved it. All you really need are olive oil, a lemon, paprika, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Easy peasy. She says to let it sit for 24 hours. I didn't do that. Oops. My sat for about thirty minutes and it was fine.

When dressing is done, move on to your tomatoes (they really make the meal if you ask me). I started by covering a cookie tray with foil. I hate cooking clean up, therefore, I love some aluminum foil.

Then take out your heirloom tomatoes...

And spread them all over your foil covered cookie sheet, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic powder.

Stick them in the broiler for about 10 minutes or until they look a little brown and mushy. That's when they're perfect.

Around this time, your pasta should be done and drained. Put it in a big bowl and mix in the lemon dressing.

And then throw your tomatoes in there...

Now let's add in the artichokes. I bought these marinated artichoke hearts, but I wouldn't say that's necessary. Any old artichoke hearts would work.

Then throw in some goat cheese. I did about 1/3 of this block (would you call that ablock or a chunk?)

You're probably thinking at this in point in the post that I do a lot of shopping at Trader Joe's. You would be right. I don't know how I ever cooked before they came to my city.

Back to the pasta. Mix it all up...

And serve! We had our pasta salad with this grilled chicken with rustic mustard cream.

The whole meal was delicious. The chicken and the pasta were so yummy! And the pasta salad was light and refreshing. The lemon and the tangy tomatoes were a fabulous combination.

As we were eating, I noticed that the Dijon mustard in the chicken recipe sure had a kick to it. At one point I may have screamed and begged J for some water. But it really was yummy! However, half way through my meal, my right eye began to swell a little and a red circle began to form around it. Sort of looked like I had been punched in the face...

Sad Rachel :(

But this won't stop me. The entire meal was too delicious to not make again. I think I'll just hold back on the mustard next time!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I really am a crazy dog mom

Apparently, I'm not the only one who hates to board my dog when I go out of town.

After yesterday's post, it sounds like every other dog owner out there gets as torn up over it as I do. Typically, when we go out of town my parents offer to watch her. When she's there, I miss her, but I don't feel bad. Mainly because I know she's having tons of fun with their two dogs. And my mom spoils her rotten. Thank goodness for my parents! They have offered to watch her for the two weeks that we'll be in Europe. That will make being away from her for two weeks so much easier knowing that she's in good hands and having fun.

Look at this face. Wouldn't you cry if you knew you had to leave her at a kennel for two nights?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Innnnnn West Philadelphia....

This past Friday J dropped Layla off at the kennel (sad face), came to pick me up from work, and we headed north for Philadelphia!

Last spring our two good friends, M & H, moved to Philadelphia for H's graduate school. We miss them dearly in Virginia, but sometimes it's fun to have friends in far away places so you get the chance to go visit them.

Our weekend was full of cheesesteaks, wine, card games, and a lot of freedom. Philadelphia is really into all things patriotic. I loved it all! I visited Philly back in 2001 (or was it 2002?) with my family, but it was still fun to see it all again.

I have a thing for taking pictures with statues. This would be the second one in a month.

The good ol' Liberty Bell

Philly had lots of "Phanatics" all over, in front of businesses and famous places. This was the Phanatic at Betsy Ross' house....notice the clever patchwork design.

This was in some crazy underground tunnel we used to get to the subway at one point. It was rather creepy.

Stopped at Reading Terminal Market and had some Amish pretzels for a snack. I want to eat one of these for a snack everyday for the rest of my life. They were so so so good!

And of course we saw the Rocky steps. After taking this picture J and M ran to the top.
But even better, we watched a little boy around the age of 2 run up, down, and back up again, all with a big smile on his face.

And a boat house by the Schuylkill River.

We went out to eat on Saturday night at the world's loudest restaurant...seriously, there were 19 women screaming behind us, but it was so delicious. In Pennsylvania, they have some odd beer and wine laws, and a lot of restaurants in the city allow you to BYOB, so it was fun going out to a nice dinner and not paying an arm and a leg for a glass of wine.

It was a great weekend away, but I will say, that picking up Layla at dooggy day care on Sunday afternoon was pretty wonderful, too. As much as I missed her, I'm thinking that she may have not even thought twice about us since she was surrounded by other dogs for the weekend. We've had some bad boarding experiences in the past, so I was happy to see her tail wagging when we picked her up this time. She must be growing up!

And now I sound like a crazy dog lady. Siiiiiigh....I guess that's not far from the truth!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Europe Footwear

With our upcoming trip to Europe, I am on the hunt for some good walking shoes. I would like a great pair of sandals and maybe some flats that are good for walking. I plan to wear a lot of sundresses while we're there, so tennis shoes aren't really the look I'm trying to go for on my feet.

While in Philly this past weekend my friend H was talking about how when she went to Russia one summer in college, she didn't wear the best shoes and her mom still jokes about how that trip was the worst thing that's ever happened to her feet. I don't want that to happen!

Here are some choices I've found on the ol' interwebs...anyone have any of these shoes? Any other pairs that I haven't found that you'd suggest? I'm going for comfort here, not style, but I also don't want to look like I'm seventy years old. Feel free to chime in! If you've been to Europe, or really anywhere where you've done a great deal of walking, what did you wear?

Lands End

Monday, May 10, 2010

a lazy menu monday

We've got a lot going on this week, so our Meal Planning for the week is one that I 'd call lazy. Nothing too fancy going on.

In addition to being simple meals, we're only doing four meals since J will be out of town at the end of the week.

My Meals
J's Meals
  • Shrimp Pasta with Chili and Lemon
  • Homemade Pizza (ingredients: dough from Trader Joe's, can of pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, goat cheese, thin-sliced green pepper and onion)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day... a mother who has taught me so much in my twenty six years of life. I love you so much!

me and my mom, 1985

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Flashback: May 6, 2006

Yesterday Megan posted about the ways her college years shaped her, and then my friend Sarah wrote about her graduation two years ago from our beloved alma mater, JMU. You've both inspired this post.

Today marks the four year anniversary since my college graduation. How in the world has it been four years? I often wonder how I even have a full time job. I still feel like a crazy, lost college kid not sure what to do with my life. While I may have a husband and 24 kids I keep track of each day, I certainly don't feel like someone who has been done with college for four years. It's unbelievable where the time goes.

During my time at JMU, a lot in my life changed. I truly gave my life over to Christ. I met some of my best friends. I began the path to a career I had dreamed about since I was eight. I found a true love for working with people for the good of our university (I was a school ambassador...this means tours, alumni, serving current students). I managed to live in a house with seven other girls. And one lesson that may have made the most impact on me, I learned what it means to have an open mind.

Those four years (well, five since I was there for grad school) in little ol' Harrisonburg, VA had their ups and downs, but I wouldn't change a thing. I loved every minute of it. Even all of the minutes I spent smelling dog food from the local chicken (or was it turkey?) factory. I wouldn't trade it.

Let's look back on my big day on May 6, 2006, shall we?

College of Education Ceremony

This week the class of 2010 will graduate. It's crazy to think they came in the year after I graduated. Here's to you fellow Dukes! I must steal this from Sarah's blog. I just love it too much to not pass on...

“Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, so that your daily life will win the respect of outsiders”