12.25.2013

Minnie Got a Hoodie

Although it's been said, many times, many ways... Merry Christmas to you.


12.24.2013

Fantasy Champion!

Dreams were made Monday night as #5 Luck Be A Lady defeated #2 Here's My Number Call Me Brady in the championship. Before the championship, "Brady" officially changed his team name to "The Bad Guy" in effort to scare away his opponent... it didn't work. :)




12.17.2013

Championship Bound!!!

I cannot believe it. I (Luck Be A Lady) beat out the #1 team (and my best friend) in our fantasy division to score a spot in the championship! Being that I was in 5th place (I had a string of near misses in the win department), it was quite a surprise. My player Jamaal Charles set a record on Sunday and helped me get the win. And for that, I thank him!



And guess who I am playing against?!? None other than my husband (Here's My Number - Call Me Brady)! He snagged the second Championship spot by 1 point. Lucky guy! Funny thing was that it was against my best friend's husband! May the best Rogers win. :)


12.16.2013

Top 10 things I used to have to do...

...but don't have to any more. 

 

[Relating to Technology]

 

10. Worry about scratching/losing/etc. my CDs.
9. Write down/remember recipes.
8. Go to the theater days early to get movie tickets.
7. Pay bills with a check and a stamp.
6. Answer a phone call without knowing who it is.
5. Get bored while waiting, like anywhere.
4. Memorize phone numbers.
3. Look at a map/atlas for directions.
2. Watch commercials.
1. Develop camera film/wait to see pictures.

It is crazy that most of these things were taken care of by one invention, my favorite, my iPhone. :)

12.14.2013

Christmas Traditions


I was having one of those inner struggles the other day, it only lasted for a minute, but it was about Christmas d├ęcor. I keep seeing sooo many articles about “why you should only use white Christmas lights” or have “real trees only” in your house, because God forbid you have a fake tree… but I think at the end of the day, Christmas is for YOU.

There are very few things as innocent as my memories of Christmastime in Indiana. Not because of gifts, well partly because of gifts, but also because of the traditions that our family had and some of which I still have to this day. My mom’s rum balls (I was only allowed one), my homemade stocking from my grandmother, opening up the advent calendar each day and lighting the candle on the wreath each night, all taking turns with my little sister of course, the super old Nativity scene, and falling asleep under the lighted Christmas tree.

For me, getting a Christmas tree meant climbing up into our freezing cold attic with footed pajamas on with my dad. It was the one time of year I was allowed up into one of the coolest places in our house (to me) as it was like undiscovered territory and we brought down our (gasp!) fake tree. It had that Christmas smell to me, albeit different than pine, and it was perfect.

Next was choosing the lights. As children, my sister and I got to take turns each year choosing which strand of lights we would put on the tree, multi-colored or white. What do you think we chose 90% of the time? Of course the multi! What is so wrong with multi-colored lights? Are you a white supremacist?

After church on Saturday nights preceding up to Christmas, sometimes we would drive around to the neighborhoods that had the most brightly decorated houses, and my favorite was the corner house on Ohio Street where this family had a field of large pines, the tallest of them decorated in all blue lights. It was the most magical of all the decorated places in my memory, and I wonder if it would have been the same had they read the “white only” light article.


So, you know what I say? If you want a big huge giant dang blow up snow globe in your front yard… go get one! If your Christmas is more like Honey Boo Boo than Martha Stewart, so be it. There are very few things in life that I don’t judge, just being honest here, and one of them is your Christmas. Create those traditions with your family, because at the end of the day that is what it is all about.

12.09.2013

Holiday Fashion

I need to pull out my sewing machine and make an attempt at clothes again. I have mastered the art of the straight seam; as in curtains, duvet covers, blankets, and pillows... but the elusive clothes patterns have stumped me for years. I may have found my motivation...

In thinking about holiday parties this year, I always like to buy a little something new for myself to wear. When I saw Carrie Underwood's performance on Jimmy Fallon, I thought, "That is it! A fun holiday skirt!" Pair it with a black sweater and some tights (things I already have) and it looks so cute.


Now, if I could only look a little more like Carrie Underwood, the Holidays would be complete! haha I don't think I have enough money for that.

...but...

Apparently I don't have enough money for that skirt either. Here is the closest thing I could find.


Even on sale, this one is out of my price range at $596.00! If anyone has any leads on where I could find a similar skirt less than $100, give me a shout, but for now I think I will be making an attempt with the old Singer machine. I should have it done in time for Holidays 2014!

12.04.2013

Fantasy Football, I'm in the Semi-finals!

Maybe it is beginner's luck, Or Luck Be A Lady, but I am in the semi-finals in my Fantasy Football League!!! haha

I also got an award this week:


I am hoping that I get to play my husband in the finals, and then beat him (again). I beat him during the regular season, but he says I only won because he helped me. Which, in truth he sort of did, but I still would have won even if I started the player that I picked up instead of putting in the player that he suggested.



I need to settle this once and for all! No... we aren't competitive... ;)

11.28.2013

Maple Bacon Bourbon Turkey

This is the tenderest turkey I have ever made! Granted, my total for turkeys is only 4. I think it has something to do with the bacon shield not only holding in all the juices, but also dripping its own fat down into it... definitely not low fat. :)

Maple Bacon Bourbon Turkey | before
Maple Bacon Bourbon Turkey | after

 Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 cups turkey stock or chicken broth; more if needed
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  •  2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 4 tbsp. butter cut into 6 pads
  • 1 package of good-quality bacon
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 2-3 Tbsp. bourbon; more to taste

Directions

  1. Remove the neck and giblets, etc. from the turkey. 
  2. Simmer the turkey neck in the stock or broth for half an hour to give it a meatier flavor; strain out before using the stock.
  3. Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat it dry.
  4. Heat the oven to 350F.
  5. Loosely stuff the front and back cavities of the turkey. 
  6. Put the remaining stuffing in a buttered casserole dish, and cover with foil. 
  7. Add the pads of butter under the skin at the breast, three at each side. 
  8. Put the turkey in a heavy roasting pan, tuck the wings under the back of the turkey, and lay the bacon strips over the breast.
  9. Add 1 cup of stock and the cider to the pan, as well as the pears and a tbsp. of bourbon.
  10. Roast for about 3 hours, basting every 30 minutes and adding more stock if the pan gets dry.
  11. During the last hour of roasting, brush the bird with the maple syrup and a tbsp. of bourbon.
  12. The turkey is done when the juices run clear and the meat is pricked with a fork and the internal temperature of the thigh is 175F, about 3-1/2 to 4 hours total.
  13. Transfer the turkey to a platter; tent it with foil to keep warm while you cook your stuffing, etc.
  14. To make carving easier, remove the bacon first.
  15. To make gravy, pour the juices from the roasting pan, including the pears into a sauce pan. Cook the liquid down over low heat and add a tablespoon of flour at a time while whisking until gravy thickens, about 3 tbsp. Whisk about 5 minutes.
  16.  Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp. bourbon or more if you like.

11.14.2013

Green Juice Recipe


One of my favorite new juice recipes is for this green juice that I modified a bit from the original recipe.

JO'S GREEN JUICE

Ingredients:
3 cucumbers
2 apples
1 c. pineapple
2 tbsp. size ginger pieces
1 lime
1/2 bunch kale (about 4-5 leaves)

Makes three servings.


Add all to juicer (I have a Native Juicer). I have found that if I mix in my kale pieces with my apple and cucumber slices, then it is less likely to get clogged as it has done before when I've added all the kale at once. Just a little tip!



Here are some pics of when I did a beet and carrot combo... It wasn't my favorite, but the pulp is sure all pretty and pink! :)

11.13.2013

Tight Ends

I am taking this "best looking" fantasy football team quite seriously. Hmmm... good thing Jordan Cameron is recommended as the one to play this week, because he would be getting in the game anyway! Whole new level to the words "tight end." haha :)


11.05.2013

Made Up Game

Over the weekend in Florida, I made up a game while out one night to get our friend Cort to chat with guys. So, we went up to guys, told them we were doing a photo scavenger hunt for X reason, and this is the result...

Reasons given (top to bottom, left to right): mustache, long hair, green shirt, hipster (and most photogenic after we saw his gorgeous smile), small, tall, wearing a hat, bro-mance, and camouflage
We won the contest, but only because we made it up - we had a great time! :)

11.04.2013

Beautiful Bachelorette Brooke

How hilarious is this outfit?!? 

 
We had the best time in Florida, and that is all the details you get for now! :) Love this girl.

10.31.2013

Sunshine State of Mind

I'm unplugging today and for the rest of this weekend for some much needed relaxation and celebration with my friend Brooke (and company) in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. The weather is supposed to be nice and in the low 80s... perfect fall beach weather!

10.29.2013

Don't Feel Blue


All smurfs were offended by this Halloween participant's clear lack of regard towards "blue-face."

10.25.2013

Go Quote Yourself!

Ivanka, I think you are an amazingly talented lady, but please, for the love of God, don't quote yourself on facebook.

CVS Coupons

Maybe, for once, I will be able to take advantage of the long list of coupons that in the past has printed with my receipt - I am so glad they did this!


10.23.2013

The NEW Christian Grey!

OK, so I was wrong here in my predictions of who would be cast as Christian Grey.

Even this was wrong because Charlie Hunnam, for whatever reason, decided to back out.

But that does not make me sad, because wow! Jamie Dornan, maybe best known for playing the sheriff on Once Upon A Time, has been cast as Christian Grey! I am not disappointed at all! I think it is great that they actually chose someone who isn't that well known. This way, we can focus on the, err, character that he plays. :)



Just please please please don't let him have too much facial hair! Not a fan.

Oil Pulling

This is sort of a Part II to my previous post, but with less words. :)

All about oil pulling.

"Swishing" a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth (but never your throat - no gargling!) will deep clean your teeth and gums and even help congestion. Do it during your morning shower before eating or drinking for best results. Just remember to spit it into a garbage can instead of clogging up your sink.

10.22.2013

Clean Eating

There was a time when I thought people who wrote the below were a little crazy. Now I fall into that group of those that believe in clean eating, and I couldn't feel better about it - literally.

I didn't think I had Celiac Disease, and maybe I am still not on board with the "complete" diagnosis. Like, "Hi, my name is Joellen, and I have Celiac Disease." If you would have asked me what my symptoms were in the past, I think I would have just said that I was fine and in perfect health. But... the problem with that is that I do get canker sores, have brittle nails, experience infertility, flaring acne (still - ugh!), mood swings, brain fog and ADD at times and these symptoms are all listed below... Wait, do I have Celiac Disease?

I thought that everyone dealt with a little hardship here and there with their bodies. I thought I was "unlucky" because I had brittle nails and my friend did not. Or that ADHD ran in my family so maybe that was it? And my "stupid" oily skin keeps me broken out... maybe gluten intolerance isn't just a made up notion by rich white people who have nothing better to complain about afterall? Maybe there is some truth to it!


It all started when I read the book Clean by Dr. Alejandro Junger. It is about toxins in our food and environment and how they can affect your body. These ideas along with an elimination diet program described in the book show how following the Clean Program lets your own body heal itself - I highly recommend it.

During my other research, more and more evidence of gluten intolerance and toxins in general has made me increasingly aware that is it not only gluten that I should remove from my diet, but Dairy, Soy, and all things processed as well. Basically, the less it looks like what it originates from, the less you should eat it.

This did NOT come easy at first.

Cheese was my favorite food. I drank about 3 cups of milk every morning. I thought if I saw the word "soy" then that meant it was healthy and I could eat it. I thought red meat was bad and diet soda was OK. I thought that water out of the tap was good enough for me, that deodorant was perfectly safe, never thought about anything relating to my shampoo and soap other than how it smelled... Now I am getting off track... Although toxins are everywhere (deodorant has been linked to breast cancer!), this post is going to concentrate on the consumables.

This.
Not that.

This.
Not that.

This - reverse osmosis water.
Not that.
People seem to be so consumed with low fat, diet, low calorie, low carb, etc. (and I know that you've heard this before), but that is NOT the way to go. I am not a doctor, nor am I a health coach or nutritionist, but I am just choosing things for my body that HAVE to make sense. They just have to. 

As in nothing genetically modified. No hormones. As many organic vegetables as I can get my hands on. Grass fed meat. All things coconut (water, oil, milk). No wheat (gluten) products (which is both easier than you think, yet harder to resist - like pizza!). I've started juicing, and its delicious. I drink smoothies for breakfast, which are delicious. Potatoes are OK! Spaghetti with meatballs is not. Gluten free vodka (Tito's) is OK. Beer is not. [sad face] But cheer up because an occasional Angry Orchard is OK. :)

Bonus is: I feel better. I don't drink coffee anymore, yet I have more energy. My acne is clearing. My brain fog is lifting. My mood is better. I am starting to realize that eating this way is not a sacrifice, it is a blessing. I don't want to feel like a sluggish lump on a log, and I no longer have to... and this is only after a month!

My advice is to look into it. It is not for everyone, but my hope is that it really is for everyone and that we will be able to indicate to the food industry what we want to eat, instead of the other way around.



10.18.2013

Best Dressed Moth


There truly are no unique man-made patterns in the world. Check out this beautifully dressed black and white moth I found!

10.17.2013

You Can Ring My [dog] Bell

Did you know that when Minnie (my dog) wants to go outside to "potty" that she rings a bell? Someday it would be cool to install a lower doorbell of sorts, but for now it is a simple craft that is cheap and takes about an hour to make.

You need a length of ribbon (think about the height of your dog for this one), 9 bells, 9 o-rings, 3 d-rings, and either a sewing machine or needle and thread. The pictures below are pretty self explanatory.



To train your dog, all you need to do is hit the bells right before you take him/her out, every time. Show him/her that she can hit them with their nose, and praise her for "ringing" it, even if you helped him/her with that part. Just keep doing that. Now, just wait and listen.

The first time that you hear the little bell ringing while you aren't standing there will feel like a miracle! Praise them, but immediately take him/her outside.

After they have successfully done this a few times, reinforce it by not taking them out unless they ring the bell.

My Minnie started ringing it when she just wanted to go outside to chase frogs (her most favorite thing EVER), but we figured her out pretty quick. Since she doesn't bark, it is so much easier for us, and maybe her, now that we can hear when she needs to go out!



10.15.2013

Expiring iGoogle

Remember this POST about my love for iGoogle? If not, its OK, I will recap below.

Well, it is leaving me! About every other day I get a warning when I open up the web browser that my iGoogle page will be shutting down in X number of days. I think the deadline is November 1. It is my homepage and has all my links, weather, email, news, etc. on it - and looks like this:


Apparently Google doesn't think it is "needed" anymore, but I am having a hard time figuring out why? What is everyone using to read blogs, keep up with twitter, news, email, etc. all in one place? Or at least what is Google assuming that everyone is using, as that was their reason for getting rid of it. I could definitely be behind the times, but hey, it works for me.

While I was searching for something in which to replace it, I discovered a cool little site called alternativeto.net (I know, right? .net? haha) and basically it gives you recommendations for programs like the one you are searching. So, when I typed in iGoogle, several came up and I finally decided on Protopage, which looks like this:


I will admit that I hate change, but this transition has been pretty easy. It is very similar and although I liked some things better about iGoogle, the weather widget for example, it is basically the same thing. That being said, I like a few things better with Protopage, like after I read an article it strikesthrough it like this. So see? All that worry for nothing.

10.07.2013

Siri's Grammar


For starters, could you stop ending sentences in a preposition? 

K.Thanks. :)

9.27.2013

Boston Redsox Cornhole Boards

I found cornhole boards that looked amazing on Etsy.com for my husband's birthday! So close to what I had thought up in my head... but wow, $200? That is a lot of money (at least that is what I thought - more on that later) and they aren't exactly what I had in my head, plus I couldn't be sure of their ACA regulations, so I decided to build them myself.

Since I had plenty of time to get this project going, I went to Lowe's and started getting supplies. But then I needed more supplies. Then I needed to buy some tools (palm sander) to make the job easier and better. Then I needed to borrow some more tools (6" hole saw) and made errand after errand after errand between putty drying. 

20 hours later, here I am, built and primed. TWENTY.EFFING.HOURS.


What is keeping me sane is that I know what went into the construction... stainless steel fasteners, exterior grade wood filler, the best primer, paint, and poly - these babies are built to last.


But such high end products come with a high price... So I start tallying. Oops, by the time I had bought the paint and poly, I had spent well over $200 (this does include very cute embroidered bags too). Granted, I did save the $65 shipping charge from the pre-made boards, but is my time worth $1.50 an hour? Because I think that is what it ended up working out to...

Blue and Red Added
Boston 'B' stencil in place
Ready for logos and polyurethane!
 And, finally, the finished product. My husband was thrilled, but has been watching me slave over these for the past month - he had to be patient with the perfectionist! His birthday is September 2nd and I set the goal of my birthday (the 28th) to be done with them. Barely made it.

Final Boston Red Sox Cornhole Boards & Bags!

What I would do differently next time:
  1. Lowe's mentioned that they sell the unfinished boards in their store... I think I would do a little more investigating on that and/or seeing if I could find the boards unfinished elsewhere. Although I love painting and designing, I am not that great (or fast) at woodworking.
  2. I would plan to make more than one pair at a time. Once you have all the stuff out to do one set, what is another set or two?
  3. Maybe not be so worried about all the paint being perfect and exterior grade. Once I polyurethaned everything, I realized that since the whole thing was coated and protected, the paint didn't really have to be that high of grade (and I spent $90 on paint and paint supplies). I mean seriously, if a hurricane comes we could probably float away on these...






9.25.2013

Pregnant Pepper?

I guess the pepper from my garden was expecting! There may be something wrong when my organic gardening makes the weirdest shaped vegetables...




9.24.2013

Simple Beauty

Simple beauty... even when driving in road construction. :)


9.23.2013

Niners/Colts Split!

The San Francisco 49ers played the Colts on Sunday and our Minnie had outfits for both teams! I am a Colts fans (still holding onto my Indiana roots) and my husband is a big 49ers fan. A couple of weeks ago I bought Minnie some jerseys for no other reason than it is hilarious to see her dressed up in people clothes.

Well, I think she may be the good luck charm because the Colts killed the Niners 27-7 on their home turf in San Fran! My husband swears she looks better in red though... Thoughts? :)



From Charleston, South Carolina to your computer. I hope you enjoy. :)