Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I want....

This rug. How awesome is it???!!!

28 Goals....

To follow suit (and more importantly, to hold myself accountable). In no particular order....

1. Read for fun more often. In the last year I have bought so many books, that are just waiting for me to read!

2. Maintain my work website, and make sure people are using it! It really has the potential of being helpful to teachers and parents, if only they would utilize it.

3. Improve my half marathon time. I am not quite sure what I want that time to be, but I know I can improve it.

4. Master some dinner "staples". I dont want my future kids to think drive thru cooks are better than mom :)

5. Keep up with Tae Kwondo. This has been a fun endeavor, and I am really enjoying all the things I am learning.

6. Exercise more. I love the classes at the Y, but I am not great about utilizing them.

7. Drop the weight I put on while in grad school. I have no excuses anymore!!

8. Hike a mountain, or two.

9. Take a cooking class.

10 Take a cake decorating class.

11. Cut soda out of my life! I started drinking it in my schools for no reason other than it was a quick "break" from my work, and now its stuck.

12. Drink more water.

13. Remember to use my reusable bags when I grocery shop.

14. Organize all my photo albums.

15. Take a multi vitamin daily. I always forget to take it!

(holy moly this is hard.... thats what she said, er. maybe that should be goal... act mature!)

16. No snacking after 9pm. Yes Jen, that includes your obsession which chips and salsa after 9pm.

17. Start a flash mob. (okay, a girl can dream, cant she?!)

18. Organize all my recipes.

19. Be better about taking "me" time.

20. Floss more often. My dentist would be so proud.

21.Follow the food pyramid.

22. Take more pictures. I have been seriously lacking in this department.

23. Take time to edit the photo's I take.

24. Spend more time in my day focusing on what went right, instead of all the things that go wrong.

25. Plan ahead for Christmas gifts this year, instead of waiting until December to start my planning.

26. Get rid of the cookbooks I never use, and invest in ones I will.

27. Be better about staying in touch with old friends. As convenient as technology is, I often find myself only using it to communicate with my "new" friends, when I should be using it to keep in touch with my older friends too!

28. Meet all 27 of these goals within the year! ( Is this cheating?!?!)

Holy cow, I am turning 28 this year?? Can you hear me knocking 30??

More Baking...

Holy macaroni, its already the end of December? Seriously, where did this month, well, this YEAR go???

December is always such a fun month. There's decorating for the holidays.....

(okay so its not a picture of our tree, but its still a cute one, right?!)

...seeing our good friends put on one heck of a fun show called Yesterday and Today. If you like the Beatles, even one iota, this show is for you! Click here to see some awesome photo's done by a good friend of mine.

Other highlights from December? The Canadian invasion, for sure. A good friend of mine is from Canada eh, and her parents, sister, grandparents and two best friends came to Omaha. What a blast!!! I was especially excited because Sarah and Julia love to bake, which means we all got together and had a night of baking. Again, I forgot my camera, so photo's can be found here. We traded recipes- Sarah and Julia taught Christine and I to make butter tarts (so yummy!!) and Christine taught them how to make crackballs (oreo balls, oreo truffles, heaven, whatever you prefer to call them) and I made carrot cake cupcakes from scratch. (not my best by the way, but I am my own worst critic!) I left before the decorating fun happened due to an ice storm :(

Another highlight would definately have to be blizzard NUMBER TWO. Yes, two ridiculous blizzards a week and a half apart from each other. The first blizzard was fine because I was sick with the flu, so I would have been holed up in my house anyway. The second blizzard singlehandedly ruined Christmas for most of the midwest. Mike and I stayed back in Waterloo a couple extra days, and thankfully were able to have Christmas with my family a couple days late. Here are a few "fun" pictures of the blizzard....

Our house from the neighbors driveway....

Looking out our front door....

drifts on our deck...

and a picture sent to me by a friend in Western Nebraska. The snow drift in this picture is taller than a semi! Crazy!!!

This has definitely been a december to remember :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Uh oh!

As previously posted, I have started baking pies... and LOVE it. Each time I make one I get a little better the dough is just right, the edges look prettier, etc. Because of this, my mother in alw asked me to make two apple pies for Thanksgiving- I was so excited! Now Grandma could see that pie backing was not obsolete.

Of course schedules always get a little hectic around Thanksgiving. To accommodate this, I planned on making the pies on separate days so I didnt have to find a whole day to make pies. The first pie turned out well. The second pie was amazing. Seriously. The crust was the best I had ever made, it laid in the pan well, and the edges looked amazing. I laid the top crust over and holy moly it was beautiful!!

I put the pie in the oven and hit my thumb on the 450 degree rack and immediately pulled my hand away, with the pie in hand. In this moment I did something I will never live down... I let go of the pie. Thats right, i dumped it upside down in my 450 degree oven.

This is what i could get out of the oven before it burned to the bottom. There was only one homeade pie at Thanksgiving this year.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Oh my...

Seeing as how I have not posted in oh, the last two months, I figured a brief update is needed.

I work, a lot. I commute an hour and 15 minutes one way, which means two and a half hours of driving a day. That's a lot. Fortunately, I love the job. It's so rewarding to finally be doing what I love, and facing different challenges everyday. Every day I have another moment where I stop and reflect saying" oh yea, this is why i wanted to be a school psychologist". I hope that never goes away.

I have been doing a ridiculous amount of baking. I learned how to make pies from scratch, and I am a machine. Maybe by next year's holiday season, I can bake pies for holiday gifts. Seriously, that would be so much fun for me. I saw these posted on another blog, and want them. Badly.

I stopped running, and am starting off again, slowly. You see, during my half marathon, the knee problems I had been having the last month of trainings were not the IT band as originally thought (and treated!). Actually, I somehow got a stress fracture right below my knee, about where IT band pain typically occurs in runners. After the marathon I could hardly walk. Not in a " I just ran 13 miles" sort of way but in a "holy crap, this isn't normal" sort of way. Long story short, I ran 13.1 miles on a stress fracture, and obviously, made it worse. I have taken almost 8 weeks off, and am going to jump back into training again this week. I never realized how much i would miss running. Now to get some great winter running gear and rebuild what I lost!

I chopped of my hair... and it looks good. I have never been one to make bold statements with my hair/clothes, etc. but this time I REALLY wanted something different, so much in fact that I told my trusted stylist that she could do whatever she wanted to my hair, and I didnt want to see it until it was done. Consider it my "I am almost 30" panic, but it looks good. Seriously.

I have so many other great things to blog about such as my ridiculously good Christmas card photo session and my husband and my new pastime...tae kwondo. We were recently promoted to yellow belt. More on that to come.

I promise to write more soon. Wait, who am I kidding, the only people who read this are my friends anyway :) Hi, Christine and Jess ;o)

Sunday, October 11, 2009


For the first time ever, I have followed through with a new years resolution! Along with two great friends, I completed the Omaha Half Marathon. If you asked me this time last year if I would ever run a half marathon, I would have laughed in your face. Loudly. Uncontrollably.

This was probably the hardest thing I have ever done; yet I am happy to report I would be more than happy to do it again. Maybe once a year for the next few years. It really was that fun. I dont need to set a time to finish, or go crazy about training; I have just learned to love running, crazy, right?!

Enjoy the pictures my darling hubby took while cheering us on! If I look like I am in pain; I am. I ran on a stress fracture (I didnt know at the time! All I knew is that my leg hurt and I was going to finish the God Forsaken race whether I had to crawl across the finish line!)

Tae Kwondo

I am pleased to announce that Mike and I earned our yellow belt last week! Look out world!

Believe it or not, Mike is excited about the yellow belt. He was not, however, excited to take a picture :)


Grandma Duffy made a comment last Thanksgiving that struck me, and stuck with me this past year.

As I helped cut the Thanksgiving pies, Grandma blurted out, "The art of making pies is dying". Boy, is she right. I didnt know the first thing of making a pie... Pilsbury and Mrs. Smith has always saved the day for me. After hearing that, I vowed to learn how to make a pie before Thanksgiving this year.
A few weeks ago, I got together with some of Mike's co workers and their children to go to an apple orchard, pick apples and bake apple pies together. What a fun afternoon! Jill had a delicious apple pie recipe that has been handed down in her family that she so graciously shared with the rest of us. The pies turned out delicious, and were devoured by the rest of the families who joined us for tacos and football.
After making these pies, I have been inspired to perfect my pie making skills, and to find fun ways to share pies with others... mini apple pies! They are perfect for a late night snack... warm and gooey with vanilla ice cream melting on top.

The goods...

mixing the egg, vinegar and water for the dough...

and the dough mixture....

last but not least the crisco...

add the egge mixture and what do you get....

divide it in half and roll it all out....

next task... find a circle cut out for the mini pie pans... thank goodness for an aboundance of tupperware!

into the pie pan it goes...

peel and cut the apples. Sugar, cinnamon, and butter in the pans...

put the tops on, cut slits and into the oven we go!

bake, and VOILA!!!



Recently, I made cupcakes for my sister's boyfriends sister's bridal shower. (Did you catch all that?!) The bridal shower was a Hawaiian themed shower, hosted by my sister.

And drum roll please..............




And the crowd went wild!!

They were a hit! I love that I finally have more time to bake in the evenings! There are going to be many more cupcakes to come ;)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My new favorite snack...

I have a lot of catching up to do with my blog- I have about 20 entries started, but for one reason or another, they still are not complete. Someday I will have enough time...

Until then, I would LOVE to share with you my new favorite snack.

drum roll please.............................................................................................

Terra Chips.

Oh, and these too. Seriously, I am hooked. They have such a good flavor, and what every good chip needs; a good crunch. I would also like to believe they are supplementing my vegetable intake.

I highly recommend checking out your grocery store for these!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Swim, Bike, Run

I am not a swimmer. Sure, I enjoy the water, but typically from a distance. Maybe on a good day I will dangle my foot in the pool, and on an even better day I will get in a baby pool. You know the ones... a foot deep, three feet wide, inflated. Typically a margarita is not too far out of arms reach.

Biking and running are more manageable tasks. I mean, who doesn't like walking like a horse after a long bike ride. Or a 5 minute bike ride, for that matter.

And what do you get when you put these activities together? Crazy. That's right, crazy. Whoever would want to do these activities simultaneously, while being timed, and competing for a place is nutso. Trust me, I married him.

But, if you take out the timing and the competition, it actually could be pretty fun event. Trust me I know, because I did it!

That's right, I did a triathlon. And it was way fun! It was even more fun to do it with a friend, Christine. I have no idea how long it took, but I do know I swam 100 yards (with the use of a life jacket of course- I don't live on the wild side, yet!), a 2 mile bike, and a 1.5 mile run. It was such a rewarding feeling to finish!

Here's a few pictures from our adventure! We are so bad ass!

Pre-race: "Whose idea was this anyway?"

Organizing our gear

Gearing up for the swim: - notice our sweet life saving gear!

and the run:

And we finished!

Hell ya!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ahem, I have a very important announcement...

I can finally call myself a working woman- I received my first paycheck last week!!!

My career is 8 years in the making, and what a relief it is to finally be making a salary! Good thing I am going shopping in KC this weekend with friends- the money is burning a hole in my pocket.

Oh yea, and now I can pay off student loans. How responsible of me!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reason 1249320584 957240947320 4932740932 why I love my husband:

He is a dork. Seriously. It's a confirmed fact.

Reason 1392380320u25940237592843920483204832 why I love my husband:

Who else could dress up as Harry Potter on a Friday night, go out to dinner dressed up and not care what anyone things. Oh, and walk around the mall dressed up too. 

Did I mention that this was NOT opening night, but several days later.....

Did I mention I dressed up too?

The things you do for love ;o)

Weekend Warriors

As mentioned previously, the tail end of vacation #1 was spent painting my brother in law's new house. While the nightmares of painting with my husband the first time came flooding back, I begrudgingly picked up a paintbrush and hopped to it. 

To my surprise, it was fun. No catastrophes. This is quite the opposite of the first time Mike and i painted together... I will spare the details but suffice it to say it was no adventure!

Painting my brother in law's house inspired Mike and I to give painting together another go and we decided to redecorate our guest bedroom. When we moved in we decided to leave it alone, and put up a hodge podge of pictures of us with family and friends around the room. No picture frame matched, and there was no order to the pictures display. I got a twitch every time I walked by the room. 

Mike and I transformed to weekend warriors. We decided to theme the room around our travel's together and display some of our favorite pictures taken on our travels. Here's the result...

First we painted the chocolate brown and let it dry. Then we taped off the our design (which I may add, was my idea!)

Then we painted.....

and waited....

peeled back the tape and added some frames... (I may also add that I went along the outside of the blue with brown with the worlds smallest detail brush to make it perfectly straight!)

Then we added a canvas antique map to plot out our travels....

and this is our wall in progress... as we travel we will add more pictures. As you can see, the pictures are hard to see, so I will add them here for your viewing enjoyment ;)