Sunday, January 25, 2009


There is nothing I love more than a beautiful snowfall...

I lied.. I love snow days more :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Its almost here... 3 years of graduate level work and now my career is on the horizon. I will defend my thesis on Feb. 11th and immediately begin to start applying for jobs. Lets hope there are jobs still available for the taking. I know grad school is all about perseverance, but this will definitely be the most stress invoking semester yet- second to stats :)

Any good luck vibes you have... I will take :) This "real world" thing is not fun!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Game Night

Last weekend, Jess and Erich came over to play The Office Trivia game. We had some pizza, drinks, and I made some Peanut Butter Cheesecake bites which were delicious!

Erich kicked our butts both games! We also played a game of Clue, which he also won!

It was a lot of fun (and Mike played too!)

Junior's Piano...

Junior loves anything musical. Obviously this includes our piano. Here are a few pictures from his last visit :)

Playin' a duet with mom.

Finally, it was time to go... Junior wasn't too happy :(

More Baking...

I have really committed myself this year to learning new recipes, and baking and cooking more. I have always been curious, but never tried it, afraid I would fail.

What I have really been catching onto more than anything is baking/cooking is therapy for me. This week (and sadly this whole semester until I get a job) will be stressful. At least I have something to pour my anxious energy into.

Two of the recipes I found from another blog... Bakerella. (Thank you for these FUN and easy recipes!)

First, were these delicious brownie/chocolate chip bars. If you know my husband, or my family in the slightest you know that we LOVE chocolate. This recipe is a perfect combination of two great foods... brownies and chocolate chip cookies. The best part of this recipe is how easy it is... its simply from boxes!

Here is the recipe as posted by Bakerella. Super simple to make, and trust me... delicious!!

Here is my attempt...

The second menu item were peanut butter cheese cake bites. I found this recipe on the Food Network website, and LOVE them. I made a batch a week or so ago for "game night" and they did not last the weekend!

This time I made them in mini muffin pans rather than your standard muffin pan size. I like them better as smaller bite size. I cut the peanut butter cups in half to better fit in the pan...

Here they are...

Before adding the cheesecake mixture.

With the cheesecake mixture...

and the finished product...

I forgot to take pictures of the mini's.. but you get the idea.

Finally, I took a stab at these cupcake bites- also a bakerella recipe. Again, such a fun recipe! Here are some pictures from my attempt. I am really excited to share these with others!

I used a yellow cake mix instead of red velvet- because that is what I had on hand. My sister gladly crumbled the cake and mixed in the cream cheese frosting.

Next, into the almond bark.

And the candy melt toppers with some fun sprinkles.

How yummy does that look! Trust me, they tasted as great as they look.

And after literally hours of baking (oh, and a run for cream cheese frosting and Culver's), I had quite the mess on my hands!

Baking is great therapy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Holy Antartica, Batman!

I have to admit, when I heard the wind howling this morning all I could think was "SNOW DAY!" (oh the joys of working in education!!)

To my dismay, I am at school, freezing from head to toe, despite my many, many layers! BRRR!

Last night I went to go running at the Y and it was packed. Not a parking place in sight. I parked a half-block or so away and hauled my gymbag down the icy street in my heels-defying death, really and proudly present them my membership card. The proud presentation was met with a half hearted " are you here for a class or for the machines?" They were so busy that they were taking names for the next available machine.

"what if i want a treadmill or eliptical only?"

"there will probably be at least a 45 minute wait for both. There are 10 others waiting for treadmills ahead of you."

Back up the icy hill I went, in my heals. Guess I am back to my 530 AM workouts...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Wii Time...

Over Thanksgiving Mike and I introduced his parents to the wonderful world of Wii gaming. Bob lost all of his energy in boxing, and loved bowling. Cindy is hooked on bowling... she loves it! Again over Christmas, Mike and I brought back the Wii and there was a lot of bowling. We tried Guitar Hero World Tour with Bob and Cindy. Bob didn't like the drums because he couldn't hit whatever he wanted "like a real drummer" and Cindy liked staying back and watching us hack away at the songs.

New Years Day, Bob and Cindy came to town to visit. Again, we had more bonding time bowling on the Wii. Cindy was hilarious! She KILLED us in bowling, and knocked her Schmirnoff Ice off the table TWICE while playing. After whipping us in an undisclosed number of games, we convinced Cindy to test out her fitness age. We turned it into a pseudo contest. Here are the results.

and the results....

Okay, okay. So it probably wasnt too fair. She had never played anything else other than bowling. But it was entertaining to watch her play the games! She seemed to have fun too!

Now its Mike's turn. Mr. Athletic (seriuosly, he is super athletic!)

And the results.....

Alright! Not so bad, right?! Now its my turn...

Please notice how remarkably close I look to my Mii character...

I WON!!!! Okay, so it was never really a contest... but I NEVER beat Mike at anything, except if you count drinking beer- and I win by default.

Oh the taste of sweet victory ;o)

Totilla Crusted Chicken

Tortilla Crusted Chicken

For those who have been asking for the recipe... I made it off the cuff, so I eyeballed everything.

(by the way, this would also be delicious with fish... but Mike doesn't care for fish)

To make this I first mixed bread crumbs with very finely crushed tortilla chips.
I seasoned the crumbs with taco seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Then I seasoned the eggs ( I used egg beaters) with more spices (taco seasoning and garlic... I love garlic!).
I dipped the breasts in the egg mixture and in the bread crumbs and then drizzled a little butter over the top of the breasts to help make the outside really crispy.
I baked on a cookie sheet at 350 for about 25 minutes. VERY delicious and simple!

It was YUMMY!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Food Network Addict....

One of the joys of working in the schools is getting long breaks... no need to take a vacation for the holidays; I get one-paid. Well, for now "paid" is a modest description of the peanuts I earn, but next year, watch out (okay, again, modest- I work for the schools...)

Anyway, I spent a LOT of time watching Food Network. I mean, take what you think is a lot of Food Network, and multiply by 10. I am in that ballpark. And while watching I typically had two responses...

1. What the heck is a _____


2. I can do that/ It would be really good if you added _____.

Now let me back up. Growing up, I hated cooking. I hated being in the kitchen, but in retrospect I think I was intimidated by the kitchen. When I lived on my own, I was teased that I would never cook or that I couldn't cook.

This summer that all changed. I really started to enjoy cooking. I especially loved grilling. I started to experiment. I perfected a burger. I got genuine compliments about what I made. People asked me for a recipe... ME!

Then school started- and there went my time to cook. Getting home at 8pm is not a prime "I want to cook dinner for you" time.

Over break, I cooked when I had time. And I made another really good dish... Tortilla Crusted Chicken and rice. It was good, really good. I tried it with fish today (Tilapia) and it was darn good.

Grocery shopping today I decided to turn things around from my usual in a bag meal. While usually pretty good, they are overpriced. I could make the same thing at a fraction of the cost. I left the store today with staples.... and it felt good.

Move over Rachel Ray, put your shoes on Barefoot Contessa; 30 minute meals- I got you beat at 20 minutes; and Good Eats, I got what you're lookin' for!

(okay cheesy I know... I am excited though!)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ice Storm

Got to love the Nebraska weather... nothing like being stranded at home on a Saturday night!
At least we have drinks and The Office to keep us entertained :) Nothing like Michael Scott to brighten an evening. Now for dinner...

Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Year's Celebration

This year is the first year Mike and I have not had a New Years Eve party. While they have always been fun (if I do say so myself), it was definately nice to not play hostess. Instead of hosting a party we started by going to the Holland Center to watch Gordon Goodwins' Big Phat Band.

Let me just say- AWESOME!!! We were surrounded by silver hairs who didn't know when to clap, cheer or actually enjoy the music. Mike and I made the most of it and loved it.

After that, we went over to a friends house and hung out. It was fun! I enjoyed watching their kids... several of them were in dance and kept putting on little dances for us, which was adorable.
Finally, we spent the rest of the evening with Matt & Christine. It was laid back, and very fun. I have to admit, its the first time in a really long time I was up until 4am!

New Years day we spent watching The Hawkeyes play, and lounging. Mike's parents came into town, and are helping us with some fix-er up projects around the house. Its always fun to spend time with Bob and Cindy.

Hope everyone's New Years was what they expected. Happy New Years to all!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


I made chocolate pretzels for Christmas this year, and they were a hit; giving my oreo balls a run for their money. My soon to be sister-in-law said she thought peanut butter and caramel would be good with the pretzels, so I decided to experiment.
I started with the caramel ones. The caramel was trickier than I thought. This is probably more because I have never really baked with it before. I recommend using the caramel bits by Kraft... they made melting a lot easier. They recommed using water while melting, but I used butter instead to make the caramel a bit richer in flavor.

Next up was the peanut butter. I used peanut butter chips instead of peanut butter from the jar. I think that I need to actually make the peanut butter a bit thinner to help in dipping the pretzels...any suggestions?

Dipping in the chocolate is pretty easy- I have figured out the perfect consistency (chocolate to almond bark ratio). The caramel pretzels were harder to dip because I didn't spray the wax paper before setting the dipped pretzels down to set. Note to self, thats an important step!!

The pretzels made their debut to a few New Years Eve parties, and seemed to go over well. I am still not sold on the caramel ones... it may take some work to perfect it. Christine suggested marshmallow fluff for the prezels too; that sounds delicious!

Temper Tantrums....

My nephew is 2, and may be the master at temper tantrums....

All he wanted was the dust buster. Poor kiddo! I can't wait until he is older so I can show him these pics :)

Our Newest Family Addition...

Sorry to disappoint, no kiddo's yet. But here may be a close runner up!

Welcome to our home, Dwight! Thanks Matt and Christine- we are happy to have him :)