Monday, April 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Eric!

Sunday, we went to brunch at the Gaylord National Convention Center at the National Harbor. (no, nothing to do with Gaylord Focker). We were celebrating Eric's 29th birthday! Happy Birthday to my friend who calls me "the meanest nice person he knows." I think that's a compliment, right?

Eric is a great friend because he has done such things for/with me such as enduring me taking pictures of Secret Service bunnies at the White House, kidnapping my friend at the Republican National Convention, lifting my couch with one hand with his super-human-retard strength, babysitting Brokaw (that only happened once, as it usually does with anyone who babysits B-dawg) and picking Michael up from the airport (as in picking him up in giving us a ride and as in literally picking him up and putting him in the car... I'm telling you, super-human-retard-strength comes in handy!)

Thank you, Frugal Girl 911

So, this is the story of how The Frugal Girl saved me from being a major food waster last week.
It was Thursday... I realized I had some mold growing in my shredded mozzarella and some Pizza sauce in the fridge that needed to be eaten, stat.
I thought I would make Thin Crust Pizza again, because I made it about a month ago and it was delicous, see?The only problem? The recipe calls for the pizza dough to be made ahead and refrigerated, which is usually great, but under my circumstances, not so much. So, Frugal Girl to the rescue! I e-mailed her asking if there was any way I could make the dough and bake it right away. Thankfully, she was Johnny-on-the-spot in getting back to me, told me to add more yeast and let it set for about an hour, and then I was on my merry way.It was perfect! (Please forgive me for not taking a picture of the final product... we ate it so fast, I forgot!) And, the best part... it led to only one thing being photographed for Food Waste Friday, the old and moldy cheese.
Thank you, Frugal Girl 911!!

Pasta From ITALY!

My super awesome co-worker, David Brody, was kind enough to bring me back some Penne Pasta from Italy! I tossed it up with some chicken, asparagus, heavy whipping cream and two tablespoons of pre-made Pesto and... ta-da! You have to do this one. So easy and so tasty!

I Haven't Posted About Cooking in a While

... so, here you go. I'm about to load the interwebs up with pictures of food, ha! This is a meal we had last Monday? I think...

The recipes I used were from my three favorites! They were all SO. GOOD. Check 'em out:

Black Bean & Avocado burritos, recipe by Rachael Ray.

Southwestern Fruit Salad, recipe by Wegmans.

And finally... Paula Deen's Peanut Butter Parfaits. These were so huge we split them, twice. And, I put the leftover peanut butter/cream cheese mixture on a bagel... wow.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Family Visit Alert!

We absolutely love it when people come to visit DC! But, it's even better when it's family, and they stay with us!

Okay, I'm going to be honest here. I come off as a great hostess. But the truth is, I can't stand to have people's stuff all over the place in my house. I'm a little bit.. how you say... anal? Oh well. It's not that you're not welcome, it's just that we're living in an apartment right now and the whole air mattress thing gets old, you know? Thank God we have two full bathrooms!

I digress.... the great thing about my sister coming to visit is she has this same problem, so she understands when she leaves a glass on the table and it instantly disappears into the dishwasher... what happened and why. And I love her for that!

Tracy and Brayden came up for a quick visit, just one day, during Brayden's Spring Break from school. Brayden is 8 years old, he's really into history and money! Kids are so funny with their random interests, aren't they?

We took T & B all over DC. We went on a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to see how our nation's money is made. We went in the White House (just for a tour of the Press Briefing Room where I work, to do the full on tour would have taken more planning). We ate lunch, bought some random stuff from street vendors and went to see the War stuff in the Museum of American History. By the end of the day, Brayden's little 8 year old legs were SPENT, he had a WASHINGTON DC backpack full of stuff and we were all falling asleep on the Metro.

It was GOOD TIMES. Love family visits. Love spending a little bit of time with my nephews before they grow up, which, by the way, happens when you blink!

Tracy & Brayden outside the West Wing.

My Beautiful sister!!

Michael & Brayden in the Press Briefing Room. M had been there before, so he's like an old pro.

Brayden in my seat in the Briefing Room. As you can see, he's pretty much as tall as me.

Of course they signed the infamous White House Pool Wall!

Watching these two together melted my heart! M was like a teacher leading B on his own custom field trip or something. So. Cute.

Yay. Shout out to Tracy & Brayden for coming to visit! Y'all come back now, you hear?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hot dog!

Sitting outside studying with the dogs soaking up some sun.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Food Waste Friday

These grapes couldn't be eaten fast enough! They got tossed. I guess that's not too bad. There is some homemade bread on the counter I just remembered... Guess we better wolf the rest of it down tonight or we're going to have to take another food waste picture.
Update: We did not manage to wolf that bread down, so it was also, sadly, tossed in the trash can.
Oh, and by the way, this is my attempt to cut down on our food waste, inspired by The Frugal Girl.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Birthday Boy (soon)

Somebody has a birthday around the corner...

I heart Goodwill

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time with my Granny Nora in different thrift stores. The skill of finding good stuff grew and grew and to this day, I really, really enjoy weeding through discount stores like TJ Maxx and Ross and scavenging through thrift stores. I just don't always have the time I'd like to do it!

Recently, though, I've had a few chances to go to a local Goodwill store to drop some of our unwanted junk off and take a look inside. I've been quite lucky lately! Check out some of my finds:

This is the best one! A table that we'll be using as a desk. It's like brand new! For $35.00. I almost had to fight off a Chinese lady for this one, but fortunately another skill I learned from my Granny Nora is how to protect your thrift store purchase from other suitors, so alas, it's in our living room.
I scored a brand new, in the package from Target, chocolate brown bedskirt, for $2.00. It's actually king size and our bed's a queen, but a little fold over job under the mattress and no one will ever know! It's remarkable the difference this has made in pulling our bedroom together and making it look more "finished." For 7 months you could see the box spring and it made me nuts pretty much on a daily basis.

I also picked up this wine rack at Goodwill for $2.00. It's fake leather, and also brown, which apparently we're obsessed with.

Striking gold in the thrift store brings such joy! I love showing off my prizes. It's like a sport!


For Easter, I baked a carrot cake in a bundt pan. Hadn't done that before. Here was our conversation.

Mike: Oh, you're using a bundt pan.

Me: Yeah, I've never done it before. Did you ever watch your mom bake a cake in a bundt pan?
Mike: Oh yeah.

Me: Did you ever notice if she let it cool before she dumped the cake out, or if she took it out right away?

Mike: I don't know. I think you should let it cool.

Impatient me: dumps out cake.

Mike: makes compassionate face, half smiling

Me: I hope I have enough icing to cover this up.

All was well, in the end. Love it when I can cover up my mistakes that easily! :)


We had a great Easter Sunday. Church was great. "It's Friday... but Sunday's coming!" Gets us fired up, every time! We are so thankful for the sacrifice Christ made on Good Friday, and incredibly grateful that he rose again on Sunday to give us all new life!! Aren't you?!?!

Easter will always be a special holiday for us because it's when we really "met" for the first time, "in person." I was compelled, somehow, to get out of the generally cautious, pre-planned mindset that I'm usually in, and I took a big risk Easter weekend of 2007 and got on a plane in Pittsburgh, PA and eventually ended up in Nacogdoches, TX, where it SNOWED. That should have been a sign from God, right there, that this was anything but ordinary!
I think this may very well be our first photo together! It's framed on my desk at work :)
I don't think either of the two people in that photo had any idea that three years later, they'd be waking up to this:
Easter gifts, yippee! I gave M an iTunes card and six Snickers eggs, I have only eaten one so far. He gave me my favorite perfume, Clinique's Happy In Bloom. The bottle I bought for that TX visit in 2007 just ran out a couple of months ago, so it was a perfect gift.

We had our friends Ginger, Victor and Caleb over for lunch. Ginger and Victor made this fabulous lamb recipe with this awesome sauce we ended up eating all week. After we ate, we went on a walk together and took some family pictures.
Don't the pups look great! Love those tongues!

Cherry Blossoms

Was it two weekends ago already that we went to see the Cherry Blossoms? Craziness. Life flies when you're in love, eh?I always wanted to drive to DC to see the Cherry Blossoms. I never actually saw them until I moved here three years ago. I strapped a backpack on Brokaw and we hiked down to the Tidal Basin. It was fun, but a certain someone wasn't there, and I remember talking to him on the phone as B and I were walking around, feeling empty. NOT THIS YEAR! Michael and I enjoyed the Cherry Blossoms in full newlywed style, baby! We packed our picnic basket we got as a wedding gift and everything. A huge thank you, by the way, to whoever gave that to us. We aren't sure who it was but it was so much fun eating on the little dishes and then rolling everything back up into that backpack and strapping it on the back of M's chair. I like things I don't have to carry :)

We ate some pretty awesome tuna salad sandwiches (gotta add lots of Paprika to your tuna salad, trust me! And apples, yumo!) and cheese, turkey pepperoni and crackers. Sparkling Cider, too. Mmm.It was a beautiful Friday and we enjoyed walking around and taking pictures of the blossoms and taking it all in. It was our first time to the Jefferson Memorial. I want to go back at night, because I've heard it's beautiful at night. We enjoyed reading the quotes on the walls and conversing about how much of a progressive TJ really was. (yes we're nerds! Want more proof? Happy Birthday, Thomas Jefferson! yes, I know for a fact today is his birthday, Google it.)
You think my husband could get his own memorial? He makes a good statue.
What a glorious date day! So glad we get to enjoy all of this stuff together now. We're so blessed to live close to the city. So much fun free stuff to do! :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Food Waste Friday

I have been meaning to participate in The Frugal Girl's "Food Waste Friday" forever! I just can't ever seem to remember to take a picture of my food waste ON A FRIDAY and post it and link to her post.

Well... it's your lucky day! I'm actually off today and have the free time to participate. So, here you go.
I had to throw away a giant Costco sized container of salsa. This has been in our fridge, forever. Funny, because the giant bag of chips we bought along with it, has not had a problem being eaten. But... the expiration date on the salsa was 3/9. I kept it through March, even though we still didn't touch it, but now that it's April, I'm thinking I have to let go. There's also an acorn squash that's questionable. I had grand plans to cut this up and bake it in pumpkin seed oil, but... I didn't. Now, it has the beginning stages of rotting, and I'm not okay with that.

Oh, How Time Flies!

At work yesterday, I was cleaning out my drawers and re-organizing. Doesn't that feel good!?! Something about Spring makes me want to delete so much stuff, at work and at home! I always want everything NEW!

In cleaning out, I threw away my 2009 calendar. I couldn't help but turn to one page in particular. It was a nostalgic day, anyway. Man, do I remember that countdown!


Because I was commuting via bus and train yesterday, I had the perfect excuse to go to Starbucks (like I need an excuse, right?) I went immediately after I got off the metro. And check it out. I don't know what the problem is, whether the splash sticks at STBX have a new found defect, or if I'm just too bouncy when I walk, but look at this mess!
Not long after I got to work, and keep in mind, I had already eaten a very good breakfast at home before I left, the Easter Bunny came over the paging system and let us know there were donuts in the break room. I cannot ever say no to a warm Krispy Kreme!

Mmmmm. Weakness!

Early Starts

We get up early. EARLY. Like 2-4am early, depending on the day. I love the look on people's faces when we tell them, "we have to get up early," and they're like, "oh, we do too." Then we drop that 2am bomb and people get that "whoa" look on their faces. It's kind of funny.

Kind of. Getting up at 2am can be TOUGH, people! We have a lot to do in the mornings to both get ready for the day. Some mornings are better than others. I took the picture above AFTER I had walked and fed the dogs, changed the laundry from the washer to the dryer, picked up a little around the house, and got things in place to get Michael up. I was waiting on the coffee to brew.

At least we're in this together.

Change of Pace for a Day

Mike posted yesterday about how I had to take the bus and the metro to and from work. We're waiting on the repair guy to come fix the windshield now. I was nervous to drive the SUV in fear that the crack would get even bigger.

So, we got up a little earlier so I could head out and catch the bus. Felt like the first day of school! I was definitely almost hit by a car that came speeding out of our apartment complex. It was pitch dark outside. New York license plate! That's all I'm saying.

Although I was a little ball of nerves, I did make it to work on time. And I enjoyed the commute. In the morning, it's nice to be able to read all of my email and read the newspaper on the bus and the train. It beats texting and driving! But in the afternoon, man, I fall asleep! Good thing I go all the way to the end of the metro line!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

At the Bus Stop

Today Dana took the bus and Metro to work because the Escape has a
crack in the windshield. So we met her on the way home. It was like
when we were first married. We did this every day. A nice nostalgic