Monday, May 18, 2015

The signal has been lost

How do you revamp a blog that's been let down so many times? It's been two years since I last posted here. I've moved to the suburbs, watched my kids grow, and now I have a kindergartner and a 4-year-old. So much is different, and yet, laughably, so much is the same. I'm back to where I was before, though in reality I never actually left. Overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, overworked, under-appreciated.

From the outside, things really seem to be looking up. They're not. My own facade is cracking, my motivation waning, and my desire to ESCAPE is escalating. I know that's not good. I probably just need a good vacation. And a housekeeper. A chef/nutritionist. Personal trainer. A nanny would be awesome too. And a secretary. But honestly, I'll settle for a vacation sometime this summer.

There's a decent chance I won't get one, however. For starters, we gave in and became a two-car family in December. The Versa had one payment left, and we were struggling with suburban family life, two kids, and one car. And we all know how much I've wanted a bigger family. So in December, we packed up the kids, dropped them off with my parents, and went car shopping. We returned a few hours later with a minivan.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Crock Pot Italian Butter Chicken

Another day, another hybrid slow cooker recipe. It's the weekend, and I have big plans to get a lot of work done today. My goal is to get enough done that I have time to read a book and enjoy a glass of wine before bed tonight. Sounds like heaven to me! To help facilitate that, I threw together one of the easiest recipes I know. Just a few ingredients, most that you probably have in your house, and you'll have a tasty dinner waiting for you. Like most of my recipes, this one is a hybrid of two different ones that I found on Pinterest. Unfortunately, the original blog that posted one of those doesn't seem to exist anymore. So I've linked the pin for the source instead, which has all of the instructions posted on it. My husband is not a fan of cooked carrots, but he really enjoyed eating this. I hope you do, too!

Italian Chicken by Crock-a-doodle-do
Crockpot Lemon Chicken from Pinterest

Crock Pot Italian Butter Chicken
1 lb Organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you can use chicken breast, but organic thighs are cheap!)
1 stick butter (8 tbsp)
1/2 lb mini carrots
2-4 tbsp Italian Seasoning (make your own or use a packet)
Juice of 1 lemon (optional)
4-6 potatoes, washed and quartered

Throw everything in the crockpot, starting with the chicken, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. That's it! It helps to sprinkle the Italian seasoning on every layer. I like to stir it with about 1-2 hours left to make sure the carrots and potatoes get adequately covered by the butter. It's not low fat, but it's damn good!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Gravity

Gravity by Dannika Dark

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was introduced to Dannika Dark's Mageri series only a short time ago, but since then I've devoured each book multiple times and was chomping at the bit for the chance to read Gravity. Fans of the series are going to adore it. There are some serious highs and some devastating lows, but the conclusion left me yearning for more.

The book begins with Silver as she gets settled into her life with Justus and contends with Logan's courtship. It was frustrating for me to see her still fighting the inevitability of it. As has happened in previous novels, the action takes off quickly and makes it hard to put the book down. Throughout the narration bounced around to the POVs of several different characters, which I found a bit frustrating since all I really wanted to know was what would happen next with Silver. On my first reading, I sailed through in just over 3 hours and skimmed several sections with characters I wasn't as interested in. I've never been a huge fan of the Knox/Sunny relationship for no particular reason other than the characters don't resonate with me as much, so I tend to skim pages that involve them on the first read-through. When I re-read it, I'll tread more carefully so I can gain a full appreciation for their storyline. There are also some interesting steps forward for Justus, who was left broken at the close of [b:Impulse|13571893|Impulse (Mageri, #3)|Dannika Dark||19152347]. I hope we'll get to see more development of his storyline in the coming novel. We also get to see a good bit of Christian, but not enough Simon for my tastes.

What I appreciate most about this series, and Gravity in particular, is Dannika Dark's unwillingness to pull any punches. Her love scenes are some of the more believable and stirring that I've read, and her characters grapple with themes we can all relate to, despite not having any magical powers or DNA. There was a pretty huge amount of heartbreak in the novel, but it was tempered beautifully. I love that Dannika's readers are respected and not spoon-fed details, at the close we are left satisfied in some areas while wringing our hands and asking why in others. I'm excited for the release of the next book, and will definitely be pouring over this one, and the previous novels, several times before its release.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

(Somewhat) Healthified Slow Cooker Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

I never knew how much I would love cooking until I got the opportunity to practice it. Being able to cook almost every night of the week for almost two years now, I think I can say I've gotten pretty good at it. One thing I'm terrible at is following recipes. Oh, I follow the spirit, so to speak. But I'm a big fan of guesstimating measurements and making off-the-cuff substitutions when I find my pantry is not up to snuff. With that in mind, I've decided to start posting my recipe combinations here on my (much-neglected) blog, in hopes that the next time I look for a particular recipe, I'll remember that I rejiggered it and will know where to look.

Most of my recipes are pulled from Pinterest (and I'm currently sitting at 1000+ on my personal pinboard), though before that I was a big fan of Tonight's dinner creation (which smells heavenly by the way!) is a mish-mash of a few different recipes, all sourced below. We don't use cans in this household, and I added broccoli to the original following the recommendation of my kids' playgroup teacher, who told me about it in the first place (thanks Patty!).

Here are the original recipes:
Healthy Substitutions: Ditch the Condensed Soup by Simple Homemade

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Back at it, again

I've forgotten how cathartic writing can be. I do have a degree in English, after all, so you'd think that's something I would remember. Silly me. Nothing stays for long in my colander of a brain these days.

It's been just about 18 months since I wrote a post, even longer than that since I've practiced regular upkeep. I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things, again, because it's helpful to me, and I feel like I have a lot to share.

How to sum up 18 months, though, in one post? And really, two full years, since that last post was really just an internal cry for help and a little shy on details? Here goes nothing:

In 2011, I gave birth to my little girl in a glorious HBAC. I have the birth story posted elsewhere, so eventually I'll transfer it over here. It was a really difficult year in a lot of ways. Going from working FT with one child, to working as a freelancer with two kids and no childcare was a disaster in many ways. I went through multiple schemes with swapping, babysitters, and nannies, until I finally broke down and re-hired my old sitter to come once a week.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


There's been a lot going on.

I left my job in April.

I had a baby - at home in the water - in May.

I started working for myself in June.

Now it's November. My baby is 6, almost 7 months old. I'm not sure where the time went. Every day I hold her, kiss her, smile and play with her, and try to burn the image of her into my retinas. I don't want to forget this. I can't wait to do it again. Babies are more precious than anything else. They are life, love, and laughter.

But that's not why I decided to post today, after an 8-month hiatus.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My exercise demons

Yes, I spelled that right. I don't have demons to exorcise, I have exercise demons. I'm terrible at getting myself up and going, and I've always been that way. That's why, after gaining the freshman *cough* my first year in college, I walked-on to the swim team. Nine practices a week got my tushie in shape and ensured I'd be staying healthy(ish - my diet wasn't great) and fitting into my clothes. After college, I had my wedding to get ready for almost immediately. After that was when my waistline, thighs, and pretty much everywhere else started to bulge. Before getting pregnant with Adrian, I actually managed to lose 20lbs through a combination of being more active (taking the stairs, free weights) and a better diet. I have Eating for Life to thank for much of that - it's a great book to change your philosophy on food, and contains a meal planner and some healthy recipes.