Let's Review Those Elusive Goals

*sigh*

Another year is coming to a close.  Every year I say the same thing... how?  How did we get from January to December in the blink of an eye?  A couple of years ago I set myself 52 goals for the year.  That did not go very well.  I think I was a bit too ambitious.  This year I decided to make it a little smaller, more attainable.  Thirty.  Not too big, not too small.

Here is what I started with:

1. (a). Read 25 books.
    (b). Ten of those 25 - Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles
2. See 5 movies in the theater.
3. Save $500.
4. Back up all photos to disc.
5. Visit a National Park.
6. Visit a State Park.
7. Thirty days without soda.
8. Start a compost.
9. Create a living will and last will.
10. Build a fenced area for dog.
11. Eat supper at the dinner table at least once a week.
12. Begin selling crafts online.
13. Rent a dumpster/clean out basement.
14. Clean out garage and carport.
15. Paint bedroom.
16. Landscape yard.
17. Get the chimney cleaned.
18. Buy new towels!
19. Refurb the bathroom.
20. Read to Rowan everyday before nap time.
21. Stop biting my nails!!!
22. Plant a garden.
23. Send out Christmas cards.
24. Begin an exercise program.
25. Eat less red meat.
26. Focus on losing inches, not lbs.
27. Photo a Day project!
28. Finish my first knitting project with the Knook.
29. Learn to knit with knitting needles.
30. Watch 15 unseen movies on Netflix.

... ... ... Welp, I did make an effort!

I did manage to read 23 books this year.  None of which were part of the Vampire Chronicles.  I'm still kind of counting that one as a win.  I did back up the majority of our photos to disc, but ran out of discs.  So that one is about 75% done.  Several of the other goals require money to accomplish and we had that unexpected job change early in the year that put quite a damper on projects and vacations.

2013 threw us a lot of curveballs.  I plan to consciously make 2014 a better year.  I'm going to start that compost, turn the large dog kennel into some type of greenhouse for herbs, have a successful garden!, and take a little time to stick our feet in the sand.  Yes, the new year is going to be great.  I'm going to make sure of it!

Aftermath

Between all the running we've done for basketball games, basketball tournaments, and various Christmas dinners, I am completely over Christmas.  

I don't know what went wrong this year.  I just couldn't get in the spirit.  We didn't even bake cookies for Santa.  He was probably grateful though since everyone else baked some instead.  We did have a nice Christmas morning though.  My mom, dad, and brother all came over.  We watched the kids open their presents then my husband cooked a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, and biscuits.  Followed by a yummy strawberries & cream Butter Braid.  If you know someone that is doing a fundraiser for these, buy one.  Apple is my favorite.




Fun times were had by all.  This year Rowan has mastered the art of present opening. She even tried to open a few of someone else's presents at our in-laws!  My heart did swell to epic proportions when she opened her canister of flavored Tootsie Rolls and began distributing them around the room.  She's always willing to share.  At least her food anyway.   

My super artistic brother and I have been working on a tattoo idea.  I have one other tattoo that I got many years ago.  I've been wanting more ever since.  So after everyone took their new gifts to their respective corners of the house, I jumped in the car, went to my mom's apartment, and sat for about four and a half hours getting injected with ink!  


This pic was taken not long after it was done.  Still super fresh.  Yesterday it was still pretty swollen and red. However I found the perfect "lotion" to keep it nice and moist.  Coconut oil.  Yet another great use for it! Coconut oil is like a miracle substance.  Today (day 2), it's not nearly as swollen and barely red.  As painful as it started to get around the three and half hour mark, I'm just about ready to start research for the next one.  Definitely a smaller one...

Another Pinterest WIN!

More and more often I find myself going to Pinterest to find recipes.  I mean, is there anything better than Pinterest right now?  Seriously.  Need a recipe?  Pinterest.  Need to know how to clean something? Pinterest.  Need to know anything?  Pinterest.  It's freakin' amazing.

I had a few packages of chicken breast in the big freezer that really needed to be used.  I happened upon this pin for Baked Chicken Bacon Ranch Taquitos.  Listen it has bacon and ranch in the title.  SOLD!

My not-so-glamorous photo.... 
The photo on the actual blog for the recipe is much more amazing and yes, I am jealous.  Thank goodness I don't really care what it looks like as long as it tastes good.  AND they tasted great!

Only 8 ingredients:

  • 1 pkg of cream cheese (8 oz., softened)
  • 4 cups of cooked, shredded chicken
  • 12 slices of cooked, crumbled bacon (or more... it's bacon!)
  • 2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or if you are lazy like me and don't want to shred your own cheese... use the blended already shredded cheddar and jack.)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of chopped green onion
  • 1 pkg of ranch dressing mix (1 oz.)
  • 20 flour tortillas (6-inch)
  • salt
Cook your chicken however you see fit.  I cooked mine ( I used about 3 boneless, skinless breasts.) overnight in a slow cooker so it was nice and tender and ready for shredding the next day.  
  • Pre-heat the oven to 425F.  
  • Mix together all ingredients except for tortillas and salt. (Start with about half the dressing mix packet then taste and add more if desired.)
  • Spoon a couple of tablespoons of mixture onto tortilla, roll up, and place seam side down on greased, covered with aluminum foil baking sheet.  Once they are all filled, rolled, and placed...
  • Lightly brush top with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  • Place in oven and cook for 10-15 mins or until the edges and tops are golden.
Let them cool for a few minutes then serve with dip of your choice!  Yum!  You can find the original post and recipe right here.  This was great quick meal for after the basketball game last week and we had NO leftovers! 

Twenty Three

The last time I updated on my book reading progress was back in August.  I wasn't doing too well.

Fast forward to today, the 18th of December.  I haven't made my goal of reading 25 books.  I did make it to 23 though!  I am pretty satisfied with this fact.  I know that if I really, really wanted to make it happen, I could manage two books.  It's just... let's face it folks, it's the end of the year, the holidays, the gatherings, the madness.

You can see all the books I read here.  I think 23 is a good number.  Then I realized that I have read 9,392 pages this year!  Whoa.  In 2010, I came close to that number with 7,991 pages.

This feels like a win to me.  I'm looking forward to setting another goal of 25 books in 2014.  I look forward to trying to make it more of a routine to read a bit every day.  This Mama needs to find some time for herself.  Kicking back with a good book should do the trick.

I already have the Divergent series on my list.  Other suggestions for good reads?

The Foodie in Me

I haven't shared a recipe in some time.  Not a new one anyway.  You know why?  Because every single time I try a new recipe or deviate from the "normal", someone won't eat.  Usually it's either the 12 year old or the 14 year old, however, occasionally it's the 35 year old.  Normal is more frozen pizzas than I really want to admit.

It's such a pain to find something that agrees with everyone.  And the oldest daughter goes between being a vegetarian and not being a vegetarian.  I'm always so confused on what to buy.

This week's meals are a bit up in the air.  I haven't been on a real grocery run since before we were expecting serious weather last week.  One bright spot is lunch time.  It is just myself and the 2 year old.  She is very open to trying new foods.  I'm sure this will change as she gets older so I'm taking advantage as much as I can.

I opened up the cabinets.  Hmmm... well, yes they are a bit bare.  A little of this, a little of that.  I decided the asparagus and tuna both looked like they wanted me to eat them.  But how to fix them....?

Away to Pinterest I go!

I went looking for one recipe.  Spent more than an hour perusing and ended up making two new boards.  Sheesh!  However, I was able to find something!  An asparagus salad with tuna dressing from the Hellman's site that is apparently a Mario Batali recipe.

image from Hellman's recipe page
I looked over the recipe, nodded my head, and decided that I could make it work.  Very loosely based on the actual recipe though and I didn't actually measure any of my ingredients.

So.... I opened one can of asparagus, drained them well, then put them in a skillet with just a half tablespoon of butter.  While they were warming in the skillet on medium low, I put about a cup of mayonnaise,  a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice, one large minced up clove of garlic, a pinch of salt, somewhere around a teaspoon-ish of dried dill, and half of the can of drained tuna in water in a bowl and mixed them all together.  I let that sit and ruminate on how all those ingredients were working well with each other while the asparagus simmered in it's buttery goodness.  Once the asparagus was heated through, I just placed it on a plate then spooned the tuna mixture on top.  Done.  I think it would have been even better with a few thinly sliced pieces of Monterey Jack on it.

I didn't photograph it.  Mainly because I was hungry, but also because I didn't even think about blogging it.  Just know it looked just as good as that image from the website.  And tasted even better!

The amounts that I used were more of a two serving meal as I had enough left that I can warm it up for lunch tomorrow.  If I fixed this for everyone, I would double it.  If you try it (or something similar), let me know how it turns out!

Soooo.....

Yep, I was absent.  Do I need a little slip of paper to excuse me for my time away?

It's been cold and icy.  I've spent more days in my pajamas than I should have, but I was warm and comfy so...

brrrrr.....
We were prepared for much more ice and snow than we actually received.  I'm glad.  Just a few miles north got much more snow and the brief time that we did get big puffy flakes got my hopes up.  We only got a dusting though.

This didn't prevent me from avoiding the door or the outside for days.  The cold, dreary, wet, cloudy days do nothing for my mood.  It's just depressing, sad, brings me down.

I need Sun.  Lots of sunlight.

Kentucky Kicks Ass

There is a link circulating around my Facebook friends that states 25 signs that you grew up in Kentucky.  I noticed a couple of interesting things while snickering my way through the list and comments.

Kentuckians are proud Kentuckians.  We are also fierce haters of other Kentuckians.  Which is strange to me given our state motto.  United We Stand, Divided We Fall.  Apparently this motto doesn't apply if you are either from Louisville or if you are from the rest of the state.  If you don't get this then it's because you aren't from here and don't watch college basketball.  Bless your heart.

Of these supposed 25 signs, I can relate to only a handful of them.  I have lived in Kentucky all of my 34 (almost 35! Yikes!) years.  Let's review these signs, shall we?
  1. You know every word to "My Old Kentucky Home".  I have no idea what all the words to "My Old Kentucky Home" are.  In fact, I couldn't even tell you the first word.
  2. It's not a shopping cart, it's a buggy.  I have been known to call a shopping cart a buggy before, but I try to avoid it.  The Amish use buggies (with horses), I use a cart.   
  3. Big Blue Madness is the single most exciting night of the year.  Err... nope.  Haven't ever watched it, but I do understand that basketball is a religion.  Which brings us to number four...
  4. Unless you're from Louisville, University of Kentucky basketball is the only sport that matters.  (If you're from Northern Kentucky, there's also the Bengals and Reds.)  It's just a simple fact that you CAN NOT support both teams.  It's not physically possible.
  5. If you see someone wearing camouflage, that doesn't necessarily mean they just came from hunting.  Guilty. 
  6. It's not pronounced LOUIS-VILLE, it's LEWA-VUL or Looo-vul.    Not Lewis-ville,  not Looie-ville, it's Lew-a-vul or (all one syllable) Looovul.  For God's sake people... GET IT RIGHT!
  7. You may have never taken a sip of it, but you know more facts about bourbon than most avid drinkers.  In Kentucky, there are more barrels of bourbon than there are people.  Also I'm a shamed Kentuckian.  I don't drink bourbon.  Gag.
  8. You still talk about the giant snowstorm of '94.  It was like the end of the world, y'all.  All stores were sold out of any milk, bread, or toilet paper for weeks. (Actually it was a couple of days...)  This is nothing compared to the Ice Storm of '09 though.  I wrote about it... here, here, and here
  9. Christian Laettner is the most hated player in the history of sports.  He's the devil.
  10. At least one of your relatives worked in the coal mines and you couldn't be more proud of him.  Nope.  I don't even know a single coal miner.
  11. You don't have to say sweet tea.  If you ask for tea, it's going to be sweet.  Who the hell drinks unsweet tea?!  Damn Yankees!!!
  12. If it's summer, you're going to be playing corn hole.  Again... nope.  I hate those two words together.  Corn + hole.  Just sounds like you are trying to politically correctly call someone an asshole.  Billy Bob is a real cornhole.  See?!
  13. You know that it's not a bunch of weeds, it's actually poke sallet.  Never heard of it. I know what a poke weed is and I guess that you can eat it.  No. Thank. You.  And what the hell is sallet?
  14. There's only one kind of potato chip:  BBQ Grippos.  Listen folks... my husband and I just discovered these a few months ago.  They are seriously the best BBQ chips ever made.  Find some immediately.
  15. The ingredients may vary, but burgoo is always delicious.  I had no idea what this was.  I had to Google it.
  16. You recognize the names of families mentioned on the show Justified.  I've... I've never watched a single episode. *hangs head in shame*
  17. You don't say what city you're from, you say what county.  Word.  We don't live in our "native" county and when people here ask me where I am from I always say, "I'm from Logan County!"
  18. You can't say from where, but if someone wants moonshine, you know a guy.  I do.
  19. When you were younger, someone took you snipe hunting.  Hell no.  Didn't fall for that one.
  20. If you had a restaurant, Jamal Mashburn or Kenny Walker could eat there for free whenever they wanted.  Again with the basketball...  C-A-T-S, Cats! Cats! Cats!
  21. You know someone who lives "down in the holler".  When my husband and I first started dating, he lived in a place called Hollow Bill.  Because back in the old days, Bill lived down in the holler and people would "holler" for him from the top of the ridge.  Probably to buy moonshine from him. So it was told that you just had to go and "holler Bill".
  22. Before 2001, Rick Pitino was a god.  Now... not so much.  Unless you live in Louisville.  Remember people... it's Looo-vul.
  23. You know that the Cincinnati airport isn't even in Ohio.  It's in Hebron, KY.  I did not know that. Probably because I've neither flown nor been to Cincinnati.
  24. Your mom didn't make dinner, she made supper.  And now I cook supper for my family.  
  25. Ale-8 is the greatest drink ever created.  I'm ashamed to say that while I HAVE heard of it, and seen it, I've never had one.  
And there you have it.  A little edjamacation (that's education for those not "from 'round here")  about this great state and a little about me too!  Honestly though, Kentucky is pretty awesome.  We have the longest cave system in the world!  You should come visit some time.

The Unofficial slogan of Kentucky!

'Tis the Season

Here it is.  December.  That means that inevitably we will be hearing Christmas music.  Everywhere.

I'm not complaining.  I love this time of year.  I love the music.

But...  you knew there was going to be a "but", right?

I can't stand what I consider modern Christmas tunes.  It seems to me that if you are a musical artist you are required to release an album of Christmas tunes.  I HATE IT.

The Jessica Simpson's, the boy bands, the horror....

Give me Burl Ives, Bing Crosby.  The classics.

Ahhh... yes.  Those are the ones.