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Monday, October 31, 2011

A Super Halloween

Hope you had a SUPER Halloween

May your munchkin's sugar high end before bedtime.


Friday, October 28, 2011

A {Losing} Sound Bytes of the Week

Work 2 , Blog 0

Yep, it's that kind of week. Work has won against the blog, hence only two posts this week. Which is ironic since I have like a billion potential posts swarming in my head and crowding my notebook.

Perhaps I will have time to post some this weekend, because it's an away game and we have NOTHING planned other than getting ready for HALLOWEEN on Monday. E is SUPER excited. I bet you can't guess what he's going to be?

Since work is still winning in this work vs. blog competition I better keep this short and get back to the job that pays me actual money.

So without further delay here's this week's Sound Bytes.

3. "Here G you need to watch my animals because they are too young to watch Scooby Doo."
You know cause E is so much older. He's a big boy ya know.

2. "No jousting."
Perhaps E should heed his own advice.

1. "That cuddle is just too much for me to handle."
Is there EVER a cuddle that you can't handle? Hmmmm, I don't think so...

Well, that's all I have for the week. I promise that will post more next week the brain is just chock full and ready to let loose.

Have a GREAT weekend! Make sure it's Spooktacular!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A {Sweet Dreams} Virtual Coffee

It's Tuesday. Coffee cup is empty and I'm heading to bed in like twenty minutes {or whenever I finish this blog post}.

I'm so tired and spent that I almost didn't come to coffee today...almost.

But then I thought you would wonder what happened to me and I didn't want to fall off the blogging wagon. So here I am!

I'll make this you go.

It was homecoming at Iowa and on Friday the boys and I walked in the parade {first time EVER} with our preschool. It was loads of fun...however next time I'll pack a snack for the boys. E looked a little odd writhing in hunger pains along the parade route...I'm just sayin'.


We finally made it dinner around 8 p.m. and by the time we were finished the bar restaurant was starting to card people and charge cover. So yes, I had a baby in a bar {but only for like a half hour, don't judge me}.

For the big homecoming game on Saturday morning, we....DIDN'T TAILGATE! I know just fell off your chair. Yep, E has basketball on Saturday mornings until 10 a.m. and with the game being at 11 a.m. there just wasn't any point.


After the game our weekend was pretty laid back. Two BBQ's with friends, a spontaneous play date and large pan of lasagna rounded out the weekend.

And if we were really meeting for coffee you would notice how stressed I am because yesterday B2 had a basketball accident and I ended up having to leave work and run him to the ER. Turns out he has an acclusion fracture {small piece of bone chipped off when he sprained his ankle} OUCH! So he's sporting a fancy ginormous boot {which scares the crap out of our cats}.

And to top it off G has a terrible sinus infection, complete with gooey eyes, ears and nose. Ewww. Good news ... there's medicine for it and by end of the week I'll have my little boy back. Smiles.

So, now I'll bid you goodnight. My goal for the rest of the week, just making it to the gym at least once. wish me luck!

What are your goals for the week?

I'll touch base with everyone at Amy's later this week after my beauty sleep...night, night sleep tight.

Have a great night.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week{end} Wrap Up

Our Week{end} in Pictures


1. Lazy Sunday morning with underpants on our head...that's how we roll around here.
2. Having fun in the bouncy house.
3. My number 94 headed to the stadium.
4. Bundled up for the homecoming parade.
6. Let's go hawks! Preparing our cheer for the homecoming parade.
7. "Mama how do I drive this thing?"
8. So tired after playing all day.
9. Motorcycle man.

How about you. What did you do this week{end}?

Friday, October 21, 2011

A {Late} Sound Bytes of the Week

Happy late Friday everyone.

Sorry for the delay. My real job beckoned me on an early morning trip for work. Thankfully, it only lasted half a day, and I had pizza for lunch.

We are gearing up for Hawkeye Homecoming here in IC. So I'm headed to the homecoming parade, which also means that this will be a late and quick Sound without further adieu...

3. "It puts a jizzle in your belly."
Ok, guys you need to get your minds out of the gutter and clean your ears I said SIZZLE. Geez...

2. "Good morning pelvis."
We must check - in with our pelvis each time I have pilates's nice to have an open dialogue with the pelvis, I'm just sayin'.

1. "A tinkle with a side of vomit."
This is the ugly underbelly of talgating. Why oh why must I always get the bathroom stall with yuck on the floor...ewwwww....control your liquor people. Please!

Well, there you have it and so sorry these are late...

Have a great weekend and GO HAWKS! {or whatever team you are cheering on this weekend}.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Real Simple Dinnertime Makeover Part 2 of 3

The following is part two of my experience with Real Simple magazine, and took place in July.

It's 8 a.m. and I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Real Simple crew. "Don't say anything stupid," I repeat over and over in my head.

Suddenly the doorbell rings and snaps me out of my chant. Time to get to work.

Chip walks in first, his arms loaded with bags from Bed Bath and Beyond."Oh, fun," I think in my head. {apparently I'm in cerebral mode today}. He immediately makes a bee-line for the glorified hallway kitchen and gets started.

Meanwhile, Dawn, Emily and I sit down and hash out a game plan for the day. But before we get started they present me with a little gift bag courtesy of Real Simple, which includes some Real Simple aprons, a cute little bag {which has come in handy when I take my lunch to work}, the Real Simple Dinner Tonight: Done! cookbook, and of course the "manual".

What's the manual you ask? Well, prior to making the trek to corn country Dawn and I spoke at least a half dozen times on the phone so she could get an idea of what our family likes to eat. She took all my likes and compiled them into a binder along with some dinner shortcuts and simple cooking tips. "The manual" has found a permanent home on my kitchen counter.

Then we headed to the grocery store. I was told to pick the grocery store that I shop at most, so we made the couple block drive to our local Fareway. It's a small town grocery store that has great produce and a superb meat counter, however selection can be limited.

The three of us spent at least over two hours buying groceries. Dawn took the time to teach me some grocery tips such as how to pick a good melon. She said it should feel heavier than it looks and when you smell the "belly button" it should smell good. Initially, I was buying the prepackaged fresh fruit, but Dawn said buying whole melons is not only cheaper, but it also teaches kids the origins of what they eat. Excellent point!

I also learned how to choose fresh herbs, cucumbers {packaged ones are better}, salad greens and peppers. You name it, if it was in the produce section I learned something about it.

Then it was off to the meat counter. The keys to making a quick dinner, are fast cooking proteins, so Dawn asked the meat department to tenderize the chicken breasts making them thinner and easier to cook. We also bought brats, a flank steak and frozen shrimp. Did you know that sometimes frozen shrimp is better than fresh? I had no clue.

Dawn and Emily admiring Fareway's meat counter.
My head was swimming with all this information. I didn't know grocery shopping could be so much fun!

My grocery cart has never seen this much produce.
When we returned my kitchen was reorganized. Chip had taken everything out of every cabinet and drawer and reorganized everything. Even the pantry {which was my nemesis}.

As I took a tour of my new kitchen I realized that these are small things that anyone can do to streamline the cooking process. It's amazing how you get stuck in a rut and even though something isn't working {ie: spices in the pantry} You still don't change it ... Duh ... why not make it easier.

Once I was acclimated to my new surroundings and my new kitchen gadgets {courtesy of Real Simple} we started cooking. I sliced, diced, sauteed, roasted, you name it I did it. Our kitchen had never seen that much action in the ten years we've lived there. When all was said and done after five hours of cooking I had orzo salad, rice pilaf, corn with onion and bacon, peas with cream and Parmesan, brats and chicken. Whew!

In the midst of all that cooking I picked up some wonderful tips from Dawn ... or as I like to call them Dawnisms.

"Don't sweat making dinner EVERY night. If you cook at least three times in a week you are doing fine." {ie: don't try to be perfect.}

"No matter how hard you try you might just pick a bad melon." {ie: there's no hard and fast science to this produce picking thing.}

"Put it on the back burner." {ie: don't worry about making a mess, just put it to the side and deal with it later.}

I also picked up some go to recipes for those days when the 'ol brain isn't firing properly.

Peel a bag of carrots {no need to wash}
Cut off the butts
Cut into half inch pieces {I sometimes split them down the middle if they are really thick}
Toss with Kosher salt, Ground Black Pepper and EVO
Roast in a 350 degree oven till tender {approx. 45 minutes}
Finish by squeezing a fresh lemon over them.

Defrost a bag of frozen peas
Bring a 1/4 cup of Heavy Cream to just a boil and pour over defrosted peas
Add some fresh Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper

For more great recipes check out the story here.

And that was just the end of day of one...up next the photo shoot.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A {Busy} Virtual Coffee

Whew! What a CRAZZZZY day!

I have been running around all day...and it is nice to finally sit down and settle in with a steaming cup 'o joe.

If we were really meeting for coffee today I'd tell you that I'm famous. Ok...not really famous, but it felt like it. See, I was at the gym this morning looking uber cute {that's sarcasm, just in case you missed it} and a girl walked up and asked me if I was Redhead Reverie. Turns out she's Inspirations by Ivy a fellow blogger right here in Iowa City. How cool is that? I've been meaning to contact her because she is a super kick ass photographer. I love meeting fellow's so much fun to put a face with the words!

Then I'd share some pictures from the football game on Saturday. I know you've been going through withdrawal right? I haven't talked football for weeks, but Saturday was a home game and you know what that means...TAILGATING!!!!

Name that movie!
Plus it was a night game...EVEN BETTER.

My hubby, the chef, prepared BBQ pulled chicken with onions and peppers YUM! Our neighboring tailgaters said it was "Badass", which made B2 think he was the next Bobby Flay.

The game wasn't without drama. First we had to make sure we were wearing the right colors. Odd sections wear black and even wear yellow. I think it turned out pretty well.

Then we had to perform a couple of "stunts". The athletic department put these cards on everyone's seat and then when you hold them up they make a design...I can't believe it actually worked!

Then it was game time...Ugh...seriously. I need a Xanax after these games. First we were ahead, then we were tied, then they were ahead, then we finally KICKED NORTHWESTERN'S BUTT!! Hurrah! This is a losing streak that needed to be broken and I was glad I was there.

The late game made for a late night, and an early morning on Sunday was painful. However, knowing I was spending it with my mom, stepdad and Toby the wonderdog made it MUCH easier.

We visited their new condo in Eldridge {only 45 minutes away!!!} I know right?...much better than the eight hours to Michigan. Now they are in crazy packing mode and as it looks right now they will unfortunately be moving amid some cold temps and quite possibly snow...YIKES. But they will be here and that's all that matters. 

Ready to play in Mimi and Papa's backyard.
Oh, and if we were really meeting for coffee I'd offer you some of my leftover CHOCOLATE birthday cake. Yeah...I'm a year older. Although not as old as I originally thought. I think it took me till Sunday {the big day} to realize I was only turning 38 instead of 39...Duh. But hey, at least it gave me one more year before the big 4-0. 

Well, I gotta run. Dinner turned into an all evening drama that the kids didn't get to eat, because I started it too late {mom fail}. So off to bed with the little hooligans and B2 and I will settle down for a late dinner...and save the rest for tomorrow. 

I think I'll head on over to Amy's and see what everyone else is up to as I dine on my pork loin with roasted carrots and cous cous...mmmmmm.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Week{end} Wrap Up

Our Week{end} in Pictures


1. Our new plates for the Winnie. Name that movie.
2. G chillin' on the bed watching Sesame Street.
3. Why were there rubber chickens at a tailgate?
4. Mimi and Papa's new house in Eldridge. Only a couple more months they will be here permanently.
5. My birthday cake...YUM!
6. Attack of the Slinky.
7. Feeding time.
8. Cutie face.
9. "Can you hear me now?"

That was our week{end}. How was yours?

Friday, October 14, 2011

An {Exciting} Sound Bytes of the Week

"Last Friday night
Yeah we danced on tabletops
And we took too many shots
Think we kissed but I forgot..."

Ok, so my Friday may not be as exciting as Katie Perry's, but I do have some exciting news. 


Yep, thanks to all the good luck mojo, the deal is done. They are coming to corn country this weekend to find a house in the QC area. I'm so FREAKING excited. Like I mentioned before it's been years since my mom and I have lived in the same vicinity. It's so surreal. 

And, amid all the house hunting and quality family time, we will of course be cheering on the Hawkeyes Saturday night. I love night games; there's such a buzz in the air. 

Speaking of buzz, let's hear what's buzzing for this week's Sound Bytes.

3. "Embrace the Suck."
Another gem from Farrell's. A three minute squat hold will bring out the suck for sure.

2. "Did you come out of an owl's mouth, because you're a hoot?"
The best pick up line EVER!

1. "Mom just stop doing things that make me laugh. I'm laughing way too hard."
Is it possible to laugh too hard? I guess maybe if you peed your pants...that would be too hard.

Well, I'm off to rock my exciting weekend. What did you hear this week? 

What do you have planned for the weekend? Whatever it is make sure it's exciting!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Out of the Darkness and Into the Light: Bigger Picture Moment

In the past ten months that I've been blogging I've shared my life experiences some of which were funny, sad or bad.

But really I've only been scratching the surface. Just chipping away at the bone instead of digging deep into the marrow. Until I participated in a writing exercise courtesy of Bigger Picture Blogs.

The assignment, to write where you are from. Not geographically per say, but the ingredients that make you who you are. Sounds easy right?

Well, not so much. For some reason this was the hardest writing assignment I've ever encountered (even from my old college days). It made me think long and hard about my life, the events that shaped me and my quirky personality traits. Basically it made me take long look in the mirror and I have to admit there were some things I didn't like.

In particular, my overwhelming ability to dwell on the negative. EVERY single time I tried to write "Where I was From" something negative and dark would spill out. I started to get more and more frustrated. Negative and dark are not two adjectives that I would use to describe myself, then again happy and sunshiny aren't either.

So I kept writing. I wrote out the dark and negative, letting it have its voice. Then I delved deeper, way deep into the marrow. I started remembering back to my childhood and started asking myself what brings me joy, when was I truly happy.

And slowly like a sun rise the darkness faded and the sun shined through. I had finally gotten past the anger and sadness, and found joy.

It's a work in progress, but slowly I'm letting go of the negative and letting in the positive. One day at a time.

Read my Writing Me post by clicking here.

And try it yourself, you never know what you may discover.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Real Simple Dinnertime Makeover Part 1 of 3

The following is part one of my experience with Real Simple magazine, and was written in July.

They're here....

I spent the afternoon with Dawn Perry, Staff Food Editor; Emily McKenna, Associate Food Editor and Chip, Organization Guru (not sure if that's his real title) from Real Simple Magazine.

Why was I meeting with all these people...well...

I was lucky enough to win the Take Back Dinnertime Makeover from Real Simple Magazine. (Insert loud squeal here).

Basically, thanks to Facebook I saw the entry and decided to go for it.

Here's what I submitted...

I'm a busy working mom, and I can't cook. I'd like to cook. I aspire to cook, but let's just say my hubby and I didn't have the greatest role models when it came to cooking. We were both raised in a single parent family and neither of us were taught how to cook. My dad's idea of dinner was mac and cheese or a TV dinner. YIKES! My husband's childhood wasn't any better...they basically made a "run for the border" every night for dinner. Without any cooking or meal planning guidance I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to making meals, which means quick but most likely not healthy. Not only that, but since I don’t plan ahead or know what I’m going to do each night I just dread it. The “What’s for dinner?” question is like nails on a chalkboard to me, and often I’m stressed and defeated before I even begin cooking. Our biggest motivation is our kids. It's important to us that our children eat healthy, and eventually learn to cook for themselves. Our lives are CRAZY busy. I don't get home until 6:30 p.m., which doesn't give us much time to make a healthy dinner, and do the bedtime routine. Unfortunately many nights the kids are served PB&J and my husband and I will eat a frozen pizza after they go to bed, which isn't until 8:30. On the nights when I do attempt to cook, I make the same things over and over again, tacos, spaghetti, chicken (10 different ways, but still chicken) and of course pizza. My goal is for us to eat a healthy dinner as a family...oh, and maybe just maybe try to get my hubby to make us dinner one night. PLEASE HELP US, my kids need to experience something other than PB&J.

Along with this....


I guess they liked what they saw because I was asked to submit more photos and answer more questions. 

Three weeks later I was sitting at my desk thinking "Oh, they must not have liked my answers because they would have called by now." Then out of nowhere my cell phone rang and it was Lygeia Grace. Senior Food Editor, and she said we were one of four families selected for this exciting opportunity. 

That was three weeks ago, and between then and now it's been a whirlwind of emails and phone calls. Finding out what our dinnertime issues are, what foods we like and don't like and more photos of our kitchen. 

So, now I'm surrounded by people who want to help me! Me...the connoisseur of frozen pizza. Hurrah! Seriously, this is like winning the lottery for us. 

They stopped at the house and went over the itinerary, and then...

They entered the kitchen (or glorified hallway, as I call it). Well, I thought "Let's just dive in." You know how when you have guests you typically hide the clutter and clean up, well I didn't. I thought "Come on they are here to help, so don't sugar coat it." 

Then came the questions like...

Do you buy meat and freeze it? Ummm, no. 

How often do you use the (insert random kitchen appliance here)? Ummm, perhaps once in the last year. 

and many more. 

All in all I'm so excited to have them organize my kitchen and give me cooking tips. I can't wait to see what happens next. 

Bring it on!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A {Thankful} Virtual Coffee

It’s Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday…time for coffee!

If we were really meeting for coffee today I’d order a pumpkin spice latte from the Java House like I did both Friday and Saturday … YUM!

Then over coffee I would give you a big fat THANK YOU! I want to let you all know how much I and my mom appreciated all the sweet words of ‘good luck” concerning their house sale. The appraisal came in WAY under {go figure … it’s Michigan the foreclosure capital}, which means all the stars need to be aligned for this deal to go through, so if you can spare some more sweet words we’d truly appreciate it. We should have a definitive answer within the next couple of weeks. Crossing fingers and toes…

Also, another BIG FAT THANK YOU to those of you who have linked up your Sound Bytes on Friday. I’m having loads of fun reading them. They bring a giggle to my afternoon that’s for sure.

Then I would ask about your weekend, and listen attentively to your exciting life, because ours was a tad boring. Ok, I shouldn’t really say that…let me rephrase it…let’s say relaxing.

I spent Friday morning with E, then an afternoon date with B2. We went to Moneyball. I’m not a baseball fan, but even I liked the movie.

Saturday I went pumpkin hunting and to the farmer’s market, and dinner with a friend.


Sunday included a trip to Target where I bought nothing on my list, and still spent over $100…ugh I hate when that happens.

Monday we had a playdate with one of E’s friends, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

So, now that I bored you with my laundry list of weekend activities {note none of which included a football game} I will bid you adieu and wish you loads of fun for the rest of the week.

Now off to Amy’s to down some more caffeine.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A {Boring} Week Wrap Up

Our Week{end} Wrap Up


1. Peek-a-Boo
2. That's my water bottle.
3. Buzz likes watching TV
4. Random photo of my shoe {this is how exciting our week was}
5. Breakfast at the Bluebird Diner
6. I like your ... ahem ... pumpkins {I owe this photo op to Suzette from The Frat Pack + Me}
7. No baby you don't need deodorant yet.
8. Brotherly love?
9. I'm gonna get you mama.
10. Little likes pumpkin hunting too.
11. Did you know the local greenhouse is also a water park?
12. E's blue bird posted on the wall.
13. Damn you soccer mom for making cupcakes.
14. E's mobile.
15. There's a baby in the laundry basket.
16. Little blue eyes.

What did you do this week{end}? Hopefully it was more exciting than ours...

Friday, October 7, 2011

A {Glorious} Sound Bytes of the Week


We are shouting it across Iowa City today, because we are so happy about it.

Mostly due to the fact that I have the day off...actually not just today, but Monday too! So awesome! I truly needed a break. Just some time to get my house in order, pull some weeds, finally buy some mums, download "Hey Soul Sister" for know, those things you need to do, but never find the time to do 'em.

So this morning I instituted a "just you and me" breakfast. E has been so good lately...getting dressed without freaking out, putting on shoes and socks with being yelled at asked, and he even cleared the kitchen table the other night...holy cow! Is that my kid? As a reward we went to breakfast this morning just the two of us, and took a walk around downtown IC. The weather is PERFECT! And the leaves...oh the leaves. BEAUTIFUL!

When I dropped him off at school, he was so excited to tell all his friends about his adventure. Oh, and show off his leaves.

Now I'm at my favorite coffee shop sitting outside with a Pumpkin Spice Latte and soaking up the ambiance...ahhhh....relaxation at it's best.

But I couldn't forget to share this week's Sound Bytes before a doze off into my beautiful day coma.

3. "I think our RV is old, because it has some rusty parts that might fall off on the bumpy road."
It's not old, just vintage...right?


2. "I'm going to call it family day."
E's new word for when the whole family embarks on an adventure.

1. "Hey, Soul Sister ain't that Mister Mister..." 
E decided to share his musical talents with downtown Iowa City this morning. I think it made a couple of people smile.

So, there you have it this week's Sound Bytes.

What did you hear this week?

Well, I'm off to enjoy the rest of the day. B2 is heading to Chicago tomorrow to see Carrie Fisher LIVE, I had pondered a family trip day to Chicago, but I'm all adventured out for a while...maybe next time.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Whatever it is hopefully you will "score" the perfect Fall day.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An {Appraised} Virtual Coffee

Good afternoon evening everyone!

So I'm late to coffee what else is new...jeez. One of these days when I win the lottery and don't have to work anymore I will probably make it to coffee before 5 o'clock.

Anyhoo...if we were really meeting for coffee today I'd give you all big hugs and tell you thank you for the sweet words of good luck for my parent's appraisal. The guy came today and did his thing, and now it's just up to the banks and Fate to see if we will FINALLY be within {reasonable} driving distance of my mama.

Honestly, since I've been threee years old, she's always been away from me. Weekend visits when I was little turned into once a year summer visits when I was older, and now it's barely once a year. Ugh...just thinking about it makes me sad. So this sale better go through...damnit!!! I'm just sayin'.

Sorry just needed to get that off my chest.

If we were really meeting for coffee I wouldn't bore you with football talk, because there wasn't a game this weekend. Ok, there were other football games...just not important ones {HA!}. Instead we had "family day" as E decided to call it. We packed up the Winnie and went on a local adventure to the campground by the dam.


Basically, E played on every playground there.


We did venture out to see the fossils. But only found a couple...oh and some wild turkeys.


For those of you how don't know Iowa City history, this area flooded in 1993 and when the water receded they found all these super cool fossils. So, they just made it a little tourist area.

We only stayed overnight because we had big plans for Sunday...THE PUMPKIN PATCH!

Each year we hook up with the kids and parents from E's preschool class and head to Bloomsbury Farms in Atkins. It's more like a pumpkin amusement park, and we can never spend too much time there.

This year G joined in the fun too.

I even bought a couple pumpkins and an acorn squash {which I will make for dinner this week}.

Have you visited a pumpkin patch yet?

Then Sunday concluded with a girls night {movie and dinner}. We saw 50/50, which probably wasn't the best movie for two friends who have just lost someone close to them. YIKES! But other than that it was good. Definitely gets you thinking about who you would want on your "team", if you were sick...thoughts to ponder for another blog post perhaps.

Well, that's our weekend in a nutshell...I have a big event at work on Thursday and then a four-day weekend. I CAN'T WAIT!

Now I'm off to make dinner.

I PROMISE with all my heart that I will get back to mingling over coffee...sorry I've been MIA. The hubs gives me the stink eye when I break out the laptop while we are having "quality" time. But I will do better this week...just save me some coffee at Amy's I promise I will be there.