Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy Friday!!!

This weekend will be my second weekend in a row on call.  Don't ask me what I was thinking, other than the fact I know I'm helping out a coworker.  So, I'm pretty sure this is what I will be doing for the majority of the weekend...
 Returning pages and sipping coffee.  Today is day # 12 of 20 days of 24 hours of on call.  Forgive me if I have misspellings and start acting goofy.

But in between pages and all, I get to help my sister shop for bridesmaid dresses!  YAY!  And even better, she is looking at dresses by my favorite dress designer…gee, who could that be?! 

Then, I just might have to do some retail therapy for myself to keep sane! 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Get Well Soon!

Okay, I have to be honest with you all.  When you bring all these flowers and balloons into the hospital for your friends and loved ones, it just creates a smaller space for the patient and more clutter to pack up and bring home.  Yes, the gesture was sweet, but lets take a look at some other options.

Also, many times when a patient is in the hospital, they are NPO, or in other words, cannot take anything by mouth.  So, now what do you do?  There goes the ideas of any treats to bring!

Hear are some great ideas that you could bring to show you are thinking of the patient.

1.  Magazines, books, puzzle books to help pass time.

2.  Stationary, including a plain pad of paper, pens to take notes when doctors or nurses come to provide important information.

3.  DVDs (find out if the hospital has one in the patient's room or you could always bring a portable one, or a laptop to watch it on).

4.  Hand-craft items (knitting, embroidery, cross stitch)

5.  Slippers (come on, those hospital socks are terrible looking and you do NOT want to put your bare foot on that floor!)

6.  Pajamas:  a great way to say "Get Well," is through Pajamagrams.  This company sends the PJs in a cute little organza hatbox with a personalized gift card and bath confetti.  Now, as cute and adorable and cozy as these are, don't go overboard…I've known a family who used to have their son and daughter who were in their late 30's wear matching ones on Christmas morning.  I swear!

7.  Robe (who wants to walk the halls in the hospital with their backside hanging out of that awful looking hospital gown?!) Trust me, the patient will appreciate this!

8.  Cozy blanket.  The hospitals blankets are used over and over again and tend to be stiff and thin.  Let your friend feel comfy in bed with an extra nice blanket, like the ones from Barefoot Dreams.  And to go along with that thought, how about a...

9.  Pillow (I know this sounds silly, but hospital pillows tend to be flat and plastic.  It's hard enough to sleep in there as it is!  If you do this, make sure you put a bright or colorful pillowcase on it so it does not get lost with the hospital laundry)

10.  Toiletries:  If you know anything about hospitals, it's that they are on a budget.  It's always about the budget!  So, that lotion they give you, is going to be mostly water based and not very nice smelling.  That razor is going to leave you with a terrible razor burn, etc.  Get a little gift basket and fill it up with necessities to make the patient feel better and tie together with a ribbon!

I never wish anyone a trip to the hospital, but hopefully, some of these things can brighten their stay!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Recipe: Pan-Seared Shrimp with Lemon Orzo Primavera

As you might remember, I'm attempting to try a new recipe each week this year.
This week I tried this and it was delicious!  

2 1/2 cup water
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup asparagus, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup orzo pasta
12 ounces of large shelled and deveined shrimp
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp lemon zest, divided
1/4 tsp dried thyme
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 Tbsp parsley

1.  Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Add the carrots, asparagus, and peas.  Boil for 3 minutes.  Remove the vegetable with a slotted spoon to a medium bowl. 

2.  Add the orzo to the water and bring back to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until the water is absorbed and the orzo is just cooked, about 15 minutes.  ( I had to add a little bit of water here so it wouldn't burn and still cook thoroughly)

3.  Meanwhile, combine the shrimp in a medium bowl with the oil, 1/2 tsp lemon zest, thyme and pepper flakes.

4.  Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot enough that a drop of water sizzles.  Add the shrimp and sear until browned and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Add 3 Tbsp of lemon juice and stir with a flat-edged spatula to deglaze the pan and coat the shrimp.

5.  Fold the vegetables, red bell peppers, parsley, the remaining 1 Tbsp of lemon juice, and the remaining 1/2 tsp lemon zest into the orzo and spoon into a deep serving dish.  Top with the shrimp and drizzle with the pan juices. 


PS…I was actually cooking this at my parents house this weekend.  After having showers and getting all nice new kitchen stuff, have you tried using your mom's stuff recently?  I told my mom I think we need to throw her generation showers so they can revamp their cooking essentials! I think it could be the new trend ;)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Treat: Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

In honor of National Pie Day on Sunday, I made 
Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie.

2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional
9-inch pie crust

1.  Cream together eggs, sugar, brown sugar and butter. 
2.  Add flour, mixing well.
3.  Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts, if desired.
4.  Spread in pie crust.

5.  Bake at 325 degrees for one hour, or until center tests done.

Serve room temp or warm with a scoop of ice cream!

Serves 6-8


Saturday, January 15, 2011

We Love You!

Today would have been Granddad's Birthday. We miss you, Granddad!

Always on our minds; forever in our hearts.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

13 Things Your Burglar Won't Tell You

Protect Yourself and Your Home
My sister sent me this forward the other day, and I thought it had a lot of valuable information on it so I couldn't help but want to pass along to you all!

1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your
carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your
yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make
my return a little easier.

3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste... And taste means
there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make
me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I
might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you
to remove it.

5. If it snows while you're out of town, get a neighbor to create car and
foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead

6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don't let your
alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it's set. That makes
it too easy.

7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the
windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom - and your
jewelry. It's not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

8. Its raining, you're fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to
lock your door - understandable. But understand this: I don't take a day off
because of bad weather.

9. I always knock first. If you answer, I'll ask for directions somewhere
or offer to clean your gutters. (Don't take me up on it.)

10. Do you really think I won't look in your sock drawer? I always check
dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

11. Here's a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids' rooms.

12. You're right: I won't have enough time to break into that safe where
you keep your valuables. But if it's not bolted down, I'll take it with

13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm
If you're reluctant to leave your TV on while you're out of town, you can
buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow
of a real television. (Find it at


1. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and
carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

2. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

3. I'll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If
your neighbor hears one loud sound, he'll stop what he's doing and wait to
hear it again. If he doesn't hear it again, he'll just go back to what he
was doing. It's human nature.

4. I'm not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy
alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

5. I love looking in your windows. I'm looking for signs that you're
home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I'd like. I'll drive or walk
through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to
pick my targets.

6. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It's easier than
you think to look up your address.

7. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way
to let in a little fresh air. To me, it's an invitation.

8. If you don't answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit
the Jackpot and walk right in.

MANY THANKS (365 days of thanks)
6.  Today I'm thankful to the wonderful anoynomous person who shoveled my walkway for me.  I did not have a shove (I know, one of the many items I forgot I might need when buying a house...come on, decorated and buying furniture is WAY more fun!), so I thought I would throw my boots on and take leaps and bounds to get to my car to go to work.  Then, on my way home, I stopped to get 1.  a carbon monoxide detector! and 2.  a shovel!  But when I pulled up to my house, I saw some kind person had already shoveled me out!  How sweet is that?  Next mission...find the person and pay it forward! :)


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday Wellness: Healthy Recipe

Healthy Turkey Chili
I made this last night during the cold and wintery mix we were having here in Maryland.  It was a perfect night for something warm!  The chili was delicious, yet healthy, so I didn't feel bad eating it!

2 pounds lean ground turkey (I used one pkg ~1.3 lbs)
2 cans diced tomatoes, low sodium
8 oz can tomato sauce, low sodium
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained, low sodium
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
low fat cheddar cheese (optional)

1.  Brown turkey in pan and place in crock pot.
2.  Add rest of ingredients (except cheese) to crock pot.
3.  Cook on high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 8 hours.
4.  Top with cheese, if you prefer.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday Treats: Red Velvet Cupcakes

Well, friends, I'm looking for the top Red Velvet Cupcake recipe. 
My sister just LOVES RVC, and I'm determined to find the BEST recipe for her!  My mom and I made these (well, really my mom did), from Barefoot Contessa's new cookbook that I got for Christmas.  And I have to say, we are a little disappointed.  They were pretty darn dry! 
So, if you have any of your favorite recipes for this kind of cupcake, let me know.
I have a couple more recipes that I'm going to try, and with all this snow they are forcasting in the next couple days, I'm hoping to be in the kitchen baking away!

MANY THANKS (My 365 days of thanks)
4.  I'm so thankful for all of my followers of this blog, but even more so, I'm thankful for all the other bloggers out there, especially Daphne over at Flip Flops and Pearls.If you haven't checked our her blog yet, you must do so!  Daphne wouldn't know me from Jane Smith down the street, but when things were rough around here, she sent such sweet emails and messages.  Her blog not only inspires me, but always leave me with those warm fuzzy feelings!  To some, blogging might be thought of as "a waste of time," but to me, I've met so many wonderful people throughout my experience on here and I really love waking up each morning to see what these fun girls have in store for the day!  Thanks, Daphne!  XOXO

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wonderful Winter Weekend

What a fun weekend!
First, I started off Friday night eating steamed crabs with my family for my birthday.  This has become a little tradition for many years.  After all, who wants to go out for a big dinner after all the holiday foods and cocktails?!

I had a delicious cup of Maryland Crab Soup, one of my favorites, followed by a crab pretzel and steamed crabs, with of course, a Michelob Ultra.  Really, can you have steamed crabs without a beer?

Saturday was also a fun filled day.  I went with two of my best friends to the Starving Artist Show in Baltimore.  After getting a little lost, we finally found it and there were so many beautiful paintings!

I bought one similar to this one for above the bed in the guest room.
I think it goes perfectly and brings a little color to my blue and white room!  They frame the pictures right there if you want them to, and the price is right!  We had a great time walking around and checking out all of the fabulous art.

Then, being girls who have recently moved, or looking to move, we headed to a consignment shop we had never been to and checked out all the great furniture.  So nice to get fresh new ideas with friends and laugh at some of the silly pieces in there. 
Could you imagine having a HUGE sleigh or church pews in your living room instead of a couch?  We laughed so hard!

Well, you know, a little something else was going on Saturday...FOOTBALL!  So, we went to a local bar downtown and had appetizers and drinks with some of our good friends.  It was great to hang out with the girls and see some of the best guy friends too!

Sunday, was more football and cheering on the Ravens, even though I was a bit sad for Peyton and the Colts !

MANY THANKS (365 days of Thanks)
2.  I'm so thankful for my best girl friends.  I had so much fun with them this weekend and don't know where I would be without them.  They always know the perfect way to cheer me up and make me laugh! I don't know how I ever got so lucky to have the friends I do from elementary school on up.  I truly feel blessed!

3.  Baxter, my pup!  This little cuddle bug is the best puppy ever.  At one year old, he really is a good puppy.  I felt guilty for leaving him so long on Saturday, so Sunday morning we hung out in bed and cuddled and then we played his favorite game of catch with his soccer ball.  He really is the most lovable little pup and I'm so glad to have him.  I used to wonder about "those people" who tried to keep their pets alive and spent so much money on vet bills...I think I've become one of them, as I don't know what I would do without Baxter!

Hope you all had as wonderful of a weekend full of friends and laughter as I did!


Friday, January 7, 2011


How adorable and perfect are these napkins?!
My dear friend came over for dinner the other night and bought these as part of a housewarming/birthday gift and I just LOVE them!  
After a rough 2010, I'm ready to take on 2011 and I think it's going to be a great year!
I don't like to start my New Years Resolutions until after my birthday weekend…I mean, come on, give up dinner and dessert for my birthday and torture myself with a freezing cold run outside?  Not yet…
That will start Sunday…Brrrr, I'm cold just thinking about it!

Today is day one of my 365 days to be thankful!
Today I'm thankful for so much!
First, I'm so thankful for all my friends and family who called, emailed, texted, messaged on facebook, etc to wish me a Happy Birthday yesterday.  All the wishes truly helped make it a wonderful day!
Second, I'm thankful for my mom.  
Guess what happened yesterday?!  I wanted this mirror for so long at this store, but it was going to go down in price soon so I was trying to wait.  It would look perfect in the dining area!  Well, yesterday I decided since it was my birthday I was no longer going to wait for the price to go down, so I went to the store, and it was GONE!  I was so disappointed.
So, I went home and opened the door and there was the mirror in my dining room!  My mom had bought it for me and put it in my house while I was at work!
Third, I'm so thankful for my coworkers.  They are seriously the best group to work with and each of them makes everyday so great to be at work.  We have tons of laughs together, but we are also there for each other during hard times and are so wonderful to bounce ideas off of.
Yesterday it was one of my coworkers last day.  It was bittersweet as we don't want to see her leave, but I know we will see her tons outside of work!
We went out to lunch yesterday and had such a great time!  I always leave our "meetings"thinking I have the worlds best job, and frankly, it's because of the team I work with!
Lastly, I'm thankful for Fridays!  
Cheers to the weekend and my birthday dinner with the family!

Hope you all have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thirty before 30!

Today is my 29th birthday!!!  
(My last year in my twenties (Yikes!))

Not that I think turning 30 is the end of life or anything, but I would like to take advantage of my 20's when I still have the energy, enthusiasm, willingness to try new things, and lack of baggage encumbrances.  
I want to enjoy this time, as I think I will better appreciate my 30's, 40's and so on more this way.
Before I turn the big 3-0, I would like to complete these projects:

1.  Paint the kitchen, powder room, and master bathroom.
2.  Replace all window screens.
3.  Throw a beautiful bridal shower for my little sister in the spring.
4.  Learn to needlepoint (and make either a pillow for a chair or a new seat cushion).
5.  Take golf or tennis lessons.
6.  Sky dive.
7.  Read at least one new book each month.
January:  Hepburn in Hilton World
The Wedding Girl
How to Get Divorced by 30
8.  Try a new recipe each week.
9.  Update my address book (both in writing and on the computer).
10.  Get a file cabinet and organize every paper I have accumulating around the house.
11.  Get back to Knoxville and attend a VOLS game. (I have seriously been bad about getting back down south the past couple years, and this is much overdue).
12.  Visit at least two new cities (preferably Savannah, Austin, Las Vegas, Chicago, Napa, San Fran, Cape May…you get the point).  Isle of Palms, SC.  DONE by visiting Savannah and Isle of Palms!
13.  Take a culinary class.
14.  Paint a piece of pottery.
15.  Visit a vineyard.
16.  Host a Girls Night In party around the holidays (wrapping get together, baking exchange, etc).
17.  Go to a book signing.
18.  Attend a show taping (Regis & Kelly, Martha Stewart, etc)
19.  Visit D.C in the spring to see the Cherry Blossoms bloom.
20.  Host a sit down dinner for my family.
21.  Turn my phone off for an entire weekend.
22.  Donate blood (again, I have been slacking in this department for some time).
23.  Go to a country concert (hmmmm….who to see this time?)
24.  Run a 5K or 10K (with my sister or mom)
25.  Buy a piece of amazing jewelry for myself.
26.  Host a cocktail party.
27.  Visit an art museum (any one, its been too long).
28.  Maintain and improve the landscaping around the house.
29.  Make a written monthly budget.
30.  Find something/someone to be thankful for each and every day and let them know 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tuesday Treats: Double Decker Fudge

This was one of my many recipes I wanted to make before Christmas, but time got away from me, so I made it this past weekend and enjoyed it during the Raven's game!
Again, the perfect combination of peanut butter and chocolate…YUM!

12 ounce peanut butter chips
1/4 cup butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Line 8 inch square pan with wax paper.
In saucepan, on low heat, combine 2 Tbsp butter, peanut butter chips and 1 cup of milk.
Stir consistently until well blended and melted.
Spread peanut butter mixture into 8 in pan.
In saucepan, combine chocolate chips, remainder of milk, and remaining butter.
Continue to stir until well blended and melted.
Spread evenly on top of peanut butter mixture.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Loosen wax paper, turn pan upside down.
Remove wax paper from fudge and slice.



Monday, January 3, 2011

Must have been a good girl...

Santa was very kind to me this year…

I got these beautiful Hunters along with the nice, warm, cozy inserts for walking Baxter on those cold mornings! 

And I can't wait to try some new recipes from my new cookbook...

Travel somewhere soon and pack up my necessities in my newly monogrammed cosmetic bags...

Hang up my Masters degree next to my Bachelor's in my office...
And best of all, my mom took old photos of my grandparents on each side and put them in little frames for me to decorate my home!  

I feel very lucky.  Must have been a good girl this year! ;)

Hope Santa was just as kind to all my loving friends and family!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

My New Years Resolutions
Goals for 2011

1.  Try to find the positive in everyone and everything.
2.  Stay in touch with friends and family better by returning phone calls more promptly and call each more regularly. 
3.  Stay on top of all my bills throughout the year….while still saving.
4.  Try to be more laid back and "go with the flow."
5.  Get out more often and walk Baxter; meet new neighbors.
6.  Make the most of each and every day.  
7.  Exercise more often…even if its freezing outside! (This will be very hard, but I also know it will be very rewarding too!)
8.  Eat healthier…no more chocolate and cookie dough for meals.
9.  Cross off a couple things on my "Bucket List."
-Go skydiving
-Learn to needlepoint
-Take golf or tennis lessons
10.  Do something for the community:
-Join Big Brothers/Big Sisters
-Adopt a child/family for Christmas
11.  Don't procrastinate!
12.  Organize all important papers and documents in a new file cabinet!