Monday, December 29, 2014

#165 He Shops Every Level of Macy's

Did I miss Weekend I'd Forget last weekend?

And perhaps the weekend before?


And I loved every minute of it.

While the past two weekends held moments that were Weekend I'd Forget worthy, in order to have truly enjoyed them, to have let them absorb into the depths of my being, there was no way I could blog about them.

I have been busier this holiday season than ever before.  At first, I thought, How can this be?  This year was like any other.

Then I realized I was fooling myself.  This year has been quite unlike any other, especially the past three months.  In October, I lost my senses and started a recipe challenge committing myself to cook 65 new recipes in less than three months.  In November, I started a new job, then baked for three days straight for Thanksgiving breakfast.  In December, I tried to juggle it all from making dinners to fulfill my recipe challenge to practicing violin for the lessons I began in July.  Somewhere in there I scrambled together time to blog, Christmas shop, and spend time with family.

I reached the days before Christmas slightly out of breath and certainly ready for the two week break from work.  I have only begun to kick my feet up and relax.

My house this week has been flooded with wrapping paper, bows, shopping bags, and boxes.  Even my organizational side has loved every second of it.


Saturday, Hubby and I spent the entire day in NYC, and I may have once or twice begged him to throw care to the wind and find an apartment there to rent with me.

Thank goodness he practically reminded me how expensive the city would be for our wallet.

I then pled with him to compromise and move us to the outskirts of the city.

I'm thinking it is still a 'no'.


We ate delicious food, walked around the shops at Bryant Park, and then shopped every single level at Macy's.

It was wonderful and all too soon I had to return to the reality of my little corner of New Jersey.

But that's okay.  There will be other weekends.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

#164 He Still Dates Me

I could have rushed this post out last night, I could have even rushed it out a few hours ago, but I wanted to make sure I took time and care for this post.

It's that awesome.

It's that important.

It's that life changing.

Naturally, the topic is food.

I'm sure you're wondering, Why not write about that over at The Orange Strainer.  You know, your FOOD blog? 

Well, ordinarily that would make sense.  Although when consideration is taken, one would realize that would mean taking a pause from my recipe challenge.  Also, this was the highlight of my weekend, therefore, it falls predominantly under Weekend I'd Forget.

On Saturday night, life didn't go as planned.  Since life didn't go as planned it meant that I didn't cook dinner.  Since I didn't cook dinner it meant we needed to find somewhere to eat our dinner.  Since we don't like to go to just any old chain restaurant, Hubby suggested going to Buen Provecho.  We've known about Buen Provecho for sometime now and had it on 'the list' of places we want to go to eat.

It's easy to get stuck in a rut.

We were stuck in a rut.

Here's to not being stuck in a rut in 2015!

Although, after going to Buen Provecho, we might possibly have been convinced to become stuck in a rut with them.

Hubby felt the need to include me in his Snapchats.
I'm going to be a little nontraditional here and start with dessert.

If I could survive souly on desserts, I absolutely, positively, would.  I get upset that bakeries typically close in the early afternoon, and dream of opening a line of bakeries that don't open until late afternoon and stay open until 2 am--at least.  Then, life would be positively divine.

The coffee alone is a reason to make Buen Provecho part of your world.  The espresso beans they use come from Puerto Rico and it didn't take much to convince me to buy one of the remaining bags they had for sale.  It isn't overly bitter, and though they gave us sugar and an adorable teeny spoon for stirring, I didn't need it.  For dessert they have a few homemade offerings.  Hubby and I heard "fried cheesecake" and knew that was the dessert for us.  Hubby ordered the guava fried cheesecake and I got the oreo one (the third option was apple--that will be for next time!).

Guava Fried Cheesecake--yum.
My greatest regret is that I was so full from dinner I couldn't lick my plate clean.

If you are anything like me, you are still trying to wrap your brain around 'fried cheesecake'.  This isn't your boardwalk fried cheesecake that is frozen, dipped in batter, and thrown in oil (still delicious, for sure!).  Think fancy churros, rolled with cheesecake filling, and served with a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream.

For dinner I had an extremely difficult time making a decision on what to order.

This, however, is normal for me.

Hubby ordered my first choice, "El Jibaro" Churrasco: angus beef skirt steak grilled with white rice and beans.  I knew this was going to be great, but certainly couldn't order the same meal.  Hubby was impressed with the tenderness of the meat and the flavors that lasted through each and every bite.


I ended up ordering, "El Cialeno": mashed plantains stuffed with chicken.  Ordinarily, plantains don't do anything for me.  They're okay, but not something I need in my life.  The mashed plantains are formed into a bowl and laced with crispy delight.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the flavors of not only the chicken that filled my plantain bowl but also of the mashed plantains.


The problem?  I only could eat about a quarter of my meal.  Our appetizer had been so fantastic, that I forgot to pace myself for the main attraction.  

I foresee ordering this appetizer as my meal on a future visit to Buen Provecho.  I snapped a picture of it after Hubby and I had already taken a helping of a few of the samplings.  "Sortido Boricua" is their sampler of fried native cheese, stuffed plantain crisps, codfish fritters, and empanadas.

Our appetizer, after we devoured half of it!

Do you ever go to a restaurant and order the sampler knowing that one of the items you won't touch, but you love everything else so you imagine that overall it must be worth the price?  That's not the case here.  I wish I could pick a favorite, but I simply can't.  I will say this though, the cheese amazed me and I love that the empanada includes three different meats instead of only one.

If you live in NJ, make Buen Provecho a part of your Weekend You'd Forget.  You won't regret it.

Remember, save room for dessert!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

#163 He Buys Me New Pajamas

I tend to over plan for Thanksgiving breakfast.  This year I completely lost my mind. My dessert list began with eight desserts and ended with thirteen.  Fortunately, I had the entire week off of work and could spread out my baking.  Yet somehow, someway, the day before Thanksgiving I still had three pies to assemble, cookies to bake, and cinnamon rolls to make.

I was so blessed that three of my favorite girls in the entire world offered to come over and help me.  You can't tell it by looking at the below picture, but these girls are only around three feet tall, the oldest is in third grade, and the youngest is only four-years-old.

Oh wait, that was five zillion years ago when I got married and they were my flower girls.


They pretty much made my life a million times easier by being a second, third, and fourth pair of hands for me.  Hannah took over the cookies, while Rebekah and Grace peeled and sliced my apples as I prepared for the blueberry, peach, and apple pies. 

We ran into a bit of an issue with the apple pie.  It didn't want to move easily from off the pan, so we laughed difficulty in the face and put our noggins (and four spatulas) together.


I'm pretty sure this pie would have ended up in the trash without their help.


Since we only needed one apple pie for Thanksgiving, and also since the second sort of fell apart when I tried to lift it off the pan after it baked, we enjoyed the fruits of our labors* as we waited for the cinnamon roll dough to rise.

*Bad pun.  I try not to use those too frequently, but this one was just too easy not to pass up.


Five zillion years ago, when I was first married, I prepped for Thanksgiving breakfast all by myself.

Back then there were less desserts, but I also had less time to make it all.  I think I like having so many helpers.

This was the year of the pies.  Growing up I was never a pie person.  My family only ever ate pumpkin or pecan pie and I only tolerated pumpkin pie and wrinkled my nose to pecan pie.

I know, foolish, foolish girl.

Today my favorite pie in the world is shoo fly pie* but I have willingly started to try pies which before I would profusely refuse.  I tried key lime pie for the first time last year and was shocked at how delicious it was and also a little upset that I had been missing out on it for so long.

*If you are ever in Lancaster, you must buy one from Dutch Haven and ONLY from Dutch Haven.  Do not be deceived by other shoo fly pies.  Dutch Haven's is the best.  The ONLY best.

I gave Hubby the choice of pies I would make and his decision was: Apple, Blueberry, Peach, Pumpkin with Rum, and Cherry.*

*I want everyone to note that without these pie additions, we would have been back at the original eight recipes.  This, friends, is how I spell love.



The blueberry pie recipe I chose had a picture attached which looked almost exactly like the one above.  Everyone I showed it to said the blueberries would never stay as beautifully placed as in the picture, but I proved them wrong!


You can't see it so well in this picture, but Hannah drew a turkey on my blueberry pie crust and I made the slits around it.  It's all about being creative with desserts.


The peach pie was a little messier than the blueberry, but not at all soupy like some pies end up being.  It was hubby's favorite.


I think thirteen desserts will have to be my limit*.  My table can't seem to handle anymore.

*You'll note, there are fourteen on the table.  My mom brought her awesome cheese pie which is basically home style cheesecake.  Yum! 


I think one day, when I live in the mansion of my dreams, I would like for Thanksgiving breakfast to be open to the public.  I feel like too many of my friends are missing out on pretty much the most awesome tradition ever established.


Did I mention we wear pajamas for Thanksgiving breakfast?

I mean, seriously, can it get better than lounging in your pajamas with friends and family while watching the Macy's Day Parade with a plate full of pie and pastries?

At least in my world, the answer to that question is no.


I certainly get my promptness from my parents.  They were the first guests, and as soon as the first guests arrive it is pretty much a free for all.  The desserts stay out all morning and guests can come and go as they please.

I also try to remind them that there is no judgement served as well as no calories at Thanksgiving breakfast.  I think this is important.  That way everyone can eat to their heart's delight.

The best dressed at breakfast was certainly Jonathan the Elf.  Smiling is his favorite, his favorite color is red, and his favorite pastime is singing loud for all to hear.

Jonny Elf

Do you have a most awesome family tradition that could compete with our Thanksgiving breakfast?  Post it in the comments section!

Monday, December 1, 2014

#162 He Gives Me Girl Time

Weekend I’d Forget
The worst thing about my life growing up was that I was an only girl.

Goodness, if life now could be as simple as it was then.

It turns out, I was made to be an only girl.  Even today I can only handle being around females for so long.  Boys are far less fussy, they tell it like it is, and they talk a lot less.  Plus, I never had to share my dress up clothes or Barbies with anyone but my friends.

Though I never had the sister I wanted as a child, as an adult I have been blessed with three sister-in-laws who I truly consider now as my sisters.

I wrote a little about them last year in this sibling overview.


Because of my recipe challenge on my other blog, this weekend I decided to host a girl's dinner just like Pioneer Woman did in one of the chapters of The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  The idea to have the girls over was sparked more on the fact that the menu items were things that Hubby would have wrinkled his nose at.

I knew my sisters would better enjoy the varied menu of burgundy mushrooms, rosemary potatoes, olive cheese bread, wedge salad, roasted beef tenderloin, and crème brûlée .*

This was the first time my three sisters and I spent a meal together without any of the men around.  

I liked it.

We spent the night laughing, sharing stories, and eating delicious food.  They were overly sweet about the quality of my food despite the fact that the meat was rare (PW said it was okay though!) and the crème brûlée didn't set properly (the flavor was still incredible!).  

*Naturally, I'll be covering this in more detail over at The Orange Strainer.

I can't believe I waited so long to have a girl's night with my sisters.  I'm a creature of tradition, so I can't say for certain, but I feel like this is something I want to make happen on a yearly basis--at the very least.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

#161 He is Slow to Speak


In church today we had an awesome Thanksgiving service called 'Thunch'.

It began with food, hence, 'Thunch'.

Personally, I find this is always a great way to start church.

After a short message, our pastor gave an open invitation for anyone to share something they were thankful for this year.  As congregants stood up to share personal stories of God's faithfulness during the year, I felt the tug inside.

The problem was that by the first testimony, I was already holding back tears, and it didn't help that two of the following testimonies started with tears.

I can cry at the simplest of heart warming stories, so considering this was a major PMS day for me, it was no doubt in my mind that if I had raised my hand for the microphone I would have instantly began to stutter and blubber as I gagged on the massive frog in my throat.

It's so much easier for me to write my emotions.  Some people are excellent orators.  They can say absolutely nothing, but the simple delivery of their words mesmerizes (hello, politicians?).  For me, I have found writing to be the best way to convey my true emotion.  If I try to speak without a script, it comes out sounding extremely uneducated, and that isn't even counting the massive number of and's and um's.

That said I have so much to be thankful for, always, but especially this past year.

If you follow my blog, you know I lost my job in June due to my school closing.  Initially, I felt little worry over this.  I knew God had it under control.  I did my part in searching for jobs, and busied myself in the meantime with my blog, other writing projects, exercising, music, and cooking.  After two seemingly sure things passed me by, I started to feel the tug of worry within.  I had two and a half months of unemployment left.  What would I do when it ran out?

Just as my worries began they were squashed when one of my sure things came through and I was offered a job position.

A second thing I have to be thankful for, which certainly would have set me a wreck with tears had I tried to speak it, is restored relationships.  A year ago, my younger brother, Joel, and I were barely speaking to one another.  Our relationship had spiraled from one of best friends who hung out practically every other day into awkward acquaintances who suffered through spending two hours together at monthly family functions.  Today, he and his wife sat with Hubby and me at our church.  At this same 'Thunch' service a year ago, I would have said it was impossible for our relationship to find healing.  But God crafted our broken pieces into a bond more sincere, more loving, and more worthwhile than even a fraction of what we had before.

Sometimes I know I have faith like the centurion in Matthew 8: 5-13.  He asks Jesus to heal his servant and when Jesus asks if he would like him to come to heal him the centurion's response is, "...just say the word, and my servant will be healed".

This story is one of my favorites in the entire Bible because I read it and have instant respect for this man.  So many people today want you to prove yourself, they want you to stand on your head to show your ability, to show your worth.  Yet, this man knew for certain that Jesus was who he said he was.  He didn't waste his time forcing him to put on a show to impress his friends and family, he faithfully asked that Jesus would do what only he could do.

I know what Jesus has the power to do and that I need only to believe he will do it for it to be done.  But just as strong as my faith can be at times, I know lurking behind, hidden in the shadows, is unbelief that the father of the demon possessed boy in Mark 9 unabashedly admits to have.  Jesus tells him, "...all things are possible to him who believes," and the man answers, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief."

Again, another favorite passage of mine, because how can you fault this man for his honesty?  Haven't we all been in his shoes at one point or another?  We want to stand strong in our faith, but that unbelief creeps in and, just like this father, we suddenly need to seek God's help in battling not only the problem we currently face, but also, our unbelief.

Most often it isn't that we haven't taken all the proper steps towards what we want or need.  We apply for the jobs.  We try to say 'I'm sorry' in the most sincere way possible.  But as soon as we've done our part, we expect God to instantly move.  We forget that even when we are waiting, God has everything under control and is simply hoping that we, like the centurion, will look to him and say, "No need to come home with me God, no need to show yourself with a display of fireworks and fanfare--just say the word and I know Your Will will be done in my life."

God orchestrated what job I would eventually find and the timing in which I would find it.  God moved in my brother's heart and mine to prepare us, in his timing, for our reconciliation.  

He did the hardest part!  I needed to only believe.

In all things give thanks.  Give thanks for the things He has done, but also, give thanks for the things that you are believing He will do--because He will certainly do them.

Monday, November 24, 2014

#160 He Went to College

Weekend I’d Forget
Saturday, Hubby and I visited my friend, Megan, at college.  Her college just so happens to be both of our alma mater: Rowan University.  

I have oh so many stories I could tell about Megan, but let me just start with this:
Me and Megan

On the left, we have me with Megan at her high school graduation.  On the right, is Megan with me at my high school graduation.  

Talk about a great way to feel old.

Here are some more fun facts about our lives together:

*I've known Megan since she was four-years-old.  

*I started babysitting Megan and her older sister, Emily, when I was sixteen.

*We first bonded over nail polish and Disney movies.

*I taught third grade at the private school we both graduated from.  She helped out in my classroom during her sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school.

When Megan decided to go to Rowan, I was not only excited because I knew what a great school she was choosing, but also because it meant I would have a reason to go back to my old stomping grounds.

Megan's dorm is in the same building that Hubby stayed in during our second year at Rowan.  It was surreal being in the building again, and we both somehow remembered the rooms as far larger than they actually are.

One thing I love about Megan is that she is incredibly crafty and super motivated.  While I was putting my Christmas tree up two weeks ago, this is what Megan was doing in the common area of her dorm room:


I think the paper towel logs and tissue paper flame was my favorite part.

 Megan and her roommate also cut out amazingly intricate snowflakes and hung them over their couches.


After we spent some time with Megan, Hubby and I visited the bookstore--which is now in a Barnes and Noble.*

*How come everything gets better at your college once you leave?  In addition to the Barnes and Noble there is a cutesy row of shops within walking distance from the college.

We may or may not have spent a ridiculous amount of money on clothing to show our school pride.*

*In our defense, they have developed a fantastic new design for our school mascot: "The Prof", aka, an owl.

After coffee, we headed to my real real old stomping grounds: the music building.

Though I was a member of the orchestra and string ensemble, I have always appreciated the talent produced by the Rowan Opera Company and its directors, Marian Stieber and Jon Garrison.   


Though it would have been a real treat to attend a full production of an opera, with the orchestra in the pit, the "Evening of Scenes" that they arranged was a nice taste of seven different famous operas.  My favorite was the Flower Duet from "Lakeme".   

We decided we wouldn't wait so long to return and are hoping to make it back in the spring to see Mozart's "The Magic Flute".

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

#159 He Endures Music He Dislikes

Weekend I’d Forget

Naturally, Weekend I'd Forget has found its way to Tuesday again.

I'm totally okay with this.

Not really, but I'll get over it.

This weekend was absolutely the best.  Before I get to my positively favorite part, I'll tell you what came in as second runner up: Pie tasting at Johnson's Farm.

Hubby and I went to their first annual pie tasting last year and we were not disappointed.  The $3 admission goes directly to Urban Promise of Camden to help provide meals to 600 individuals.  With that admission fee visitors get to taste every single pie that Johnson's Farm bakes on their premises--and trust me, it is more than just a few.


This year, we also had the treat of tasting meatballs and ziti from Roselli's Italian Market which is located just down the street from Johnson's.  Their sauce was divine, in fact, it was so delicious I literally could have slurped a cupful sans ziti or meat.


My favorite pie is still Johnson's sweet potato pie, though the apple lattice and cherry were tempting me to place them in first place.  Johnson's sweet potato pie has a lighter and more refreshing taste than the typical pumpkin pie--though I still wouldn't pass up a slice of their pumpkin if it was at my Thanksgiving dessert table.

Although the pie tasting was great fun, nothing could beat my Saturday afternoon spent in Hershey, PA listening to the rocking sensational tunes of Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO).  For a few years now I have been wanting to go to one of their concerts and finally Hubby made it happen, in spite of his personal preferences.


If you love Christmas and have never heard of TSO, please, do yourself a favor and immediately buy all their Christmas CDs. You will not be disappointed.

That is, unless you like frilly Christmas music that sounds like it belongs in the seventeenth century.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all about traditional Christmas music here and there, but sometimes an electric guitar screaming out Joy to the World is just the right touch to make Christmas come alive.


I was, of course, immediately inspired by their violinist who dramatically ran all over the stage playing his electric violin.  Although, I think for dramatic emphasis he allows his bow to become ridiculously broken of some of its hairs.  There is no way that the style or amount of notes he played would ever make so many hairs come loose from a bow.*

*Note: If you have no idea what I'm talking about--ignore my rant.


It was clear that the members of TSO are not merely musicians, but they are also entertainers.  They knew exactly how to involve the audience and get them hyped for each and every song they perform.


While there were five main performers (two electric guitars, one bass, one keyboardist, and the electric violin) there were also vocal soloists, backup singers, a small strings section, drummer, and another pianist.  I always wondered how one might become a part of the strings section (because, naturally life on the road at Christmastime is clearly one of the things I aspire towards---not!) and was interested to learn that they hire their strings section from the local symphony orchestra.  The group at our performance were part of the Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra.


It was the perfect kick off to the start of the holiday season.  Don't hate me, but my Christmas tree has been up for a week now and my heart jumps a little in excitement when I drive by other homes with Christmas trees that sit beside windows shining proudly for all to see.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

#158 He Hangs Things For Me

Weekend I’d Forget

I know, I know, it's Tuesday.

Still I didn't want to forget to post about my weekend, so today it will be short and sweet.

Remember the exciting weekend I had a few weeks ago at Ikea?  After waiting for time, then finding the time to paint the spice racks, then some more waiting for Hubby, he finally put them up for me in the kitchen.*

*I know I could have attempted to hang them myself, but me and hanging things just don't get along.  Unless it is a simple nail and hammer kind of deal, Otherwise, I will end up either ruining the wall, putting fifty holes in the wall, or making everything uneven.  It's a patience problem.


Now all my spices are in one organized space instead of crammed on the tiny shelves over my sink where I would reach for one spice and three others would come tumbling down, usually into a sink filled with dirty dishes.

The only problem is that we bought five shelves and they are already jam packed.*  Yikes.

*Note: I just now realized I cut off the fifth shelf from this picture, but believe me, it's there.

In other news, I got a job!  I am so thrilled, and excited, and ecstatic, and all those other emotions of joy over this opportunity.  But that may be the reason why, occasionally, Weekend I'd Forget might just end up publishing on a Tuesday.

Monday, November 3, 2014

#157 He is a Monkey

Weekend I’d Forget
Halloween 2014 (4)

Halloween has never been a major holiday for me.  In fact, growing up, my brothers and I weren't allowed to celebrate it.  Instead, we celebrated the harvest.  As you can imagine, our heads hung low every November 1st when our friends came to school parading their treasures from the night before.*

As is typical for youngest sibling behavior, Jonathan rebelled and rejected the No-Halloween-Policy.  It started with innocent photos taken in places like Wal-Mart with their skeleton displays.  It led to any spooky-vampire-ghoulish-bloody merchandise Jonathan could manage to get his hands on prominently placed in all corners of the living room during the months of September and October.

At least a month before Halloween this year, Jonathan found a sumo wrestler costume in Target.  It boasted a battery operated fan and that it was one-size fits all which made me instantly believe it would be a complete waste of his remaining $25 birthday gift card.

Yet, buy it we did.  He planned to wear it to his church Harvest festival the day before Halloween and in the days that preceded it my mother and I tried to get him to try it on, fearing it wouldn't fit and we would be stuck with a confused and stubborn Jonathan.

He refused to try it on until the day of the festival, and thank God, it fit.


I think it was the best costume he has ever bought.  People cleared the way for him to walk by.  People he knew belly bumped him.  Strangers asked to take pictures with him.


Ordinarily I don't give out candy in my town.  Since I wasn't raised on Halloween, buying candy for kids I hardly know has never really appealed to me.  However, Jonathan had convinced me to buy him a second Halloween costume.  In exchange, I told him he would come over on Halloween and give out candy.  

Halloween 2014 (2)

As a monkey.

Halloween 2014 (1)

It was quite the realistic mask, I felt like I was hanging out with a cast member from Planet of the Apes.  We found it at Party City when my brother, Joel, put it on to be silly.  Unlike most masks, the mouth moves with it.  Immediately, my husband and Jonathan both wanted one.

At $50 each.

Altogether that's the price of four sumo costumes, people.

Halloween 2014 (3)

I'll admit, it was fun to be a monkey for a few hours, hence why it made it to the prominent place of my favorite part of the weekend.  The most interesting thing I found was the way people treated Jonathan when he wore the mask.  

With the mask on, Down syndrome was not the most prominent thing about him.  With the mask on, people came to the door, laughed or hesitated at his mask, took their candy, and were on their way.  The few times he had the mask off I heard sweet voices saying hello, teenagers calling him 'buddy' and asking gently how many pieces of candy they could take from the bowl he was pushing towards them.

Though I loved the mask on him, I think I like life better with it off.

Monday, October 27, 2014

#156 He Spoils Me

Weekend I’d Forget


I have reached a weekend where there wasn't anything too spectacular that occurred.

So if I bore you with the simplicity of this Weekend I'd Forget, I apologize.  

I've never been too big on shopping at Ikea.  It isn't anything against Ikea.  They have some good products, a lot of which can be obtained at a cheap price.  My limited shopping there might reside on the fact that most locations are at least a half hour away from my home.

I found a need to go to one though, and Saturday Hubby took me there.

One day, I will have the perfect kitchen with a walk-in pantry and a wide open section just for my spices.  Until that day, I have been managing my spices in the most cluttered of ways that although I could have pictured it for you to see, I have opted not to.  It's such a mess.

I decided I should look into a spice rack to make my life easier and save my kitchen from the aggravated screams of frustration I let out whenever I need to search for an obscure spice hidden among the rest.

Spice racks are down right expensive.

The best price I could find was $70 and I wasn't even thrilled with the shape or color.

Then I found Ikea's individual racks at $3.99 each.  Sure, they need to be assembled.  Sure, the wood is probably cheaper than the fancy spice racks I've researched.  But I can make it what I want it to be.

We bought five and I'm going to paint them mustard yellow to match my Kitchen Aid mixer and teapot that are both the same color.

It's going to be awesome.

It's the little things in life that excite me.

Friday, October 24, 2014

#155 He Loves Fridays


Friday has been my favorite day of the week for a long time.

For a while, I thought it was Saturday.  Saturday seems like the perfect candidate for favorite day of the week.  Being sandwiched between a day you can stay up later and another day off from work you would think it's a real winner.*

*Of course, unless you work retail, then none of this applies to you whatsoever.  Been there, done that.

I suppose I love Friday because it gives me something to look forward to.  It's the breath of relief from a hard worked week, and the guarantee of two days to rest.*

*Of course, I write this at an odd time in my life having been unemployed for the last four months.  Pretty much every day is a day of rest.**

**Don't take me seriously.  I have been actually 'working at home' and completing a lot of personal goals, not just sitting around relaxing.***

***I promise.

Fridays should mean a big party.  The week is done, it's time to celebrate.  Sure, maybe I didn't finish everything I planned to, but whether or not my work goals are completed, the week is.  As long as I gave it my best, that's worth celebrating.*

*I'm always looking for a reason to celebrate.   

Celebrating the end of the week looks different for everyone, and with many it becomes a tradition.  For some, Friday night is always pizza and a movie.  For some, it might mean family game night.  For the longest time, in my family, it meant dinner together--namely my dad's famous hot wings. 

The last year I taught third grade, my students really embraced my love  for Fridays.  In the morning when I would greet them as they walked into my classroom many would say, "Happy Friday!" grinning from ear to ear up at me.  There was one student in particular who would always come over to me on Friday mornings and say, "I know you're happy today.  It's Friday!"

One of my coworkers would do "Fun Fridays" with her class.  I might have been a little biased because I love fun and I love Fridays, but I thought, "Yes!  This is what it's about."

I'm a little over dramatic and over celebratory, but I think we should find joy in small things.  

Even if it is only a day of the week. 


Monday, October 20, 2014

#154 He Embraces Different Cultures

Weekend I’d Forget
The groom looks well guarded

This weekend we attended the wedding of a coworker/friend of Hubby's  It was our first ever Pakistani wedding and I was a little excited, for several reasons.

1. I love experiencing different cultures and learning about traditions of those cultures.

2. Though I knew the food would be on the spicier side, I couldn't wait to try it..

3. I got to hang out with some of Hubby's fun coworkers.

4. I was going to wear a saree.


Several of Hubby's coworkers travel often to India for either business purposes or for family.  One of his bosses was so sweet and picked me up a saree and all the elements that go along with it* on her most recent trip.

*Note: A saree looks oh so much simpler than it is in reality.  To ignorant American girls like myself, it seems like a skirt that you simply slide into, zip up, and then a piece of material that is easily flung over your shoulder.

No.  No.  No.

It is like wrapping yourself in a table cloth.  The most exquisite and finely stitched tablecloth ever.  And doing so in a way that it doesn't look like you are wearing a ten foot long piece of material.  I'm pretty convinced you would have to be more than a pro to be able to dress yourself in a saree without any help.

Hubby tried to help me, but as soon as we got to the wedding, his boss took me into the bathroom, and redid everything.

I'm pretty sure I had more fun wearing a saree than I did my own wedding gown.

The bride and groom were married the night before.  But the reception was quite an event by itself.  The groom and his groomsmen did a dance for his new bride to start things off.  Then the brother of the groom and father of the bride spoke.  My favorite thing that the bride's father said was, "Respect and you will get respect.  Love and you will get love."  Now there is something lacking in far too many marriages today.

We ate shortly after and I loved the food so much I went up for a second plate.  I thought the tandoori chicken would be too hot for me (I mean, it's in an orange sauce after all) but I loved it!  It reminded me of hot wings.  To calm the spice a little I mixed it with rice and occasional bites of naan.  There also was a lamb stew that was phenomenal.  The lamb was so tender and juicy I secretly wanted some mashed potatoes to throw it on top of.

Even better than the food was the way everyone was dressed.  It really put American weddings to shame--at least concerning the way the women were dressed.  In America, it seems the only people who need to wear floor length gowns to a wedding are the bridal party.  But here the dress of every guest was elegant and the only women in shorter dresses were American.  I counted at least five different dresses that I desperately need in my life.

I'm pretty sure that Hubby regrets bringing me.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

#153 He is Afraid of My Dad

There are some people who, though they are not trying to, have a mean, don't-mess-with-me look about them.  Bullies leave them alone, pick pockets look the other way, while others are plain intimidated by them.

I am one of these people.

Of course, I didn't know I had 'the look' until I was in my late high school years.  Even then, I didn't realize what kind of power 'the look' gave me.  

It was a high school friend who clued me in to the fact that I had 'the look'.  She admitted that when I first visited our school--in first grade--she thought to herself, "I do not want to be that girl's friend.  She looks mean," and she avoided me for our second grade year for fear that I would beat her down.

Hearing that made me chuckle.  As I got older, I learned to talk the talk to match 'the look', but ultimately I've always been the type of person who gets punched in the face for trying to stop a fight, not start one.

My father has 'the look'.  But anyone who knows my father knows that he is a stand up guy; someone who is slow to anger, someone who will spread himself thin in order to help others, and someone who is certainly not to be feared.


Regardless of dad's laid-back nature, his occasional corny joke, and track record of kindness, when we were dating my husband was terrified of my dad.  Every time he confided this to me I would laugh at him.  My dad was the dad who out of nowhere blurted out the word "Boogers" loud as a fog horn to make my brothers and me laugh.  He was the dad who spanked me with a flip flop when my mother couldn't deal with me anymore.  He was the dad who hid Game Boy games in his shirt pockets when he came home from work.

There was nothing terrifying about him.  

I eventually learned to find the realistic side to my boyfriend's feelings.  After I'd had a laugh about it, I realized it was the most respectful feeling my boyfriend could have for my father, even if it made no sense based on how my father treated him.


When we were married for a few years, Hubby told me that he was still afraid of my dad, and that he would probably always be.  I knew then that it wasn't 'the look' that had intimidated him.  Sure, maybe on their first hello it had been, but 'the look' couldn't put that type of undying fear in a man.  

It wasn't a matter of what dad did or didn't do.  It was a healthy fear that all men should have of their father-in-law.  A realization that though they may now be family, should that husband do anything to that father's little girl he quickly will discover why a father is to be feared above all men.   


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

#152 He Works Overtime

Weekend I’d Forget
I have had, yet again, another jam packed weekend.  I'm starting to think that ever since I began holding myself accountable for reporting one positive from my weekend, subconsciously, I've been making sure to pack my weekend with so much that I have to fight with myself over what to write about.*

*It's really been that good.**

**I dare you to take the challenge.  Find something good in your weekend and report back to me.

This past weekend my brother, Joel and his wife, Mallory, were back in town. You might remember my recent post about them and their new job.  We all have been so fortunate. They left in August expecting not to see family again until Christmas, maybe.  Their route has placed them in NJ for the past few weekends leaving them plenty of opportunity to visit immediate family.

Hubby worked a ridiculous amount the past two weeks, so the only negative of my weekend was that he was at work instead of with us.


After experiencing firsthand that no major city or state in their travels has pizza that compares to New Jersey, Joel and Mallory were craving the best pizza on earth.  Our original plan was to get some, then go apple picking.

If you were out and about on Saturday, you know that was a laughable option for the day.  It poured all night and into the morning, leaving us staring at the empty pizza boxes, bellies full, wondering what to do.

Mallory and I still had pie on our minds so to Johnson's Farm we went.*

Johnson's has recently opened a second location, and even though it is much closer to my house I couldn't risk that they would have the exact same experience I was looking for, in other words, the sweet potato pie I had been craving.

*Mallory had never been, and it was only when we arrived that Joel remembered having taken field trips there.  


No one can go to Johnson's Farm and simply go into the bakery.  It just feels so wrong.  They have their animal farm, Halloween shopping, a hayride, pumpkin picking and apple picking all going on at the same time.  Though stopping in the bakery had been our original intention, the hayride immediately took precedence.  The rain had stopped, but we still decided apple picking was a bad idea.  The ground was still wet and muddy.*  While most people get on and off of the hayride from the designated stops for pumpkin picking and apple picking, we stayed on and enjoyed the ride, taking in the corn fields, the pumpkin patch, and the rows and rows of apple trees.

*Naturally, Sunday was the perfect apple picking day and we had already made plans to do something else!

When we ended in their bakery, I had to look the other way from the apple cider donuts.  They were calling my name, but so was the sweet potato pie and I knew only one could* win.

*Not really could.  Both of them really could win.  Should is probably the right word.

I'd love to own a farm one day, but Hubby always tends to shoot this dream down.  Every time I talk about owning a farm he tells me that I only want to live on one, and have other people to do all the work.

I don't want to admit that he's right, but he has a pretty good track record of times he's been right vs times he's been wrong.