Sunday, November 11, 2012

Is a fish stupid because it can't climb a tree?

I saw a quote tonight that has me thinking.

"Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid." --Albert Einstein

I think it is interesting how the mind works. Everyone thinking differently about the exact same thing amazes me. I'll admit sometimes it is extremely frustrating to explain something to someone every different way you can think of while they stare blankly back at you like "huh?"; however, I know that there are certain things I "don't get" or perceive totally backwards from how others do.

For example, I often forget how long I've been in the restaurant business and that things that I find as "common sense" sometimes are only second nature to me because I've been around this atmosphere for so long that certain things are "no brainers" for me but may not be for others. I started waiting tables when I was 19 (nearly 7 years ago), and many things were brand new to me and I had no idea what I was doing. I try to think back and remember the first time I ever rolled silverware, something I'm a bit of an expert at now and could probably do in my sleep, when we have new employees so that I don't get frustrated with having to explain "simple tasks". I remember the girl that was training me, and we all sat down at this big round table with tons of silverware in front of us with stacks of napkins and "tabs" to hold them together. I had no clue what I was doing or if I would ever be as fast as those other girls. The trainer looked at me shocked when I said, "Can you show me how? I've never done this before."

At least every other week or two we have new servers in training at the restaurant, and I often have to remind myself that I once didn't know how things worked and had to be explained the things that today are now part of my auto-pilot behavior. This is one of my biggest weaknesses for me I think. It is hard for me to not get frustrated with the "dumb questions" that I get asked over and over day in and day out. I always think "Why is this so hard? What aren't they getting it? Why don't they know this already? Haven't I already explained this 73,268 times today?" And this is where my sarcasm comes in.

For anyone who knows me very well at all--especially the adult me--knows that I am one of the most sarcastic and quick-witted people around. This works to my advantage in social situations. If I am out with a group of people, it is not usually difficult for me to make conversation with people--even the ones I don't know very well. Usually this is because I will spout off something quickly. Some little meaningless "dig" into someone. It's all in good fun. Everyone laughs and we have fun. This is not always true for me in my job--especially with my newer employees.

I tend to answer questions that are in my mind "dumb" with sarcastic responses--not always on purpose, and they are not always received well. Some people view me as hateful or rude because of it even though 99% of the time in my life I have the best of intentions. I am an extremely empathetic person. I go above and beyond to make sure my employees have a schedule that they like as well as what works with their life. I feel like I am a pretty fair boss and a genuinely nice person. I feel like I have my employees' best interests at heart as well as the restaurant's. However, that is not always what is perceived because of these quick witted responses.

Here's an example from today (there are many more every single day): we have a mandatory training class scheduled for a day next week. As the manager that does the schedule, I am fully aware that this meeting occurs during some people's normally scheduled shifts. This class is being offered once in the morning and once in the afternoon in the same day. The schedule will be posted tomorrow for our employees to see even though it has been ready since Thursday (so I already know who is scheduled when and they do not). An employee asked me today "So what if we're scheduled at the time of that meeting? How are we supposed to go if we're scheduled to be here when we're supposed to be there because I always work on that day?" I looked at her and with a straight face said, "Well, believe it or not that girl that makes your schedule (me) is aware that you have to attend one or the other of that training class so you will be off in time to attend." It just rolls off my tongue. I should've probably been more sympathetic and explained for the 1,315th time this week that we are going to have them scheduled differently on that day than we normally do, but at that point I couldn't help but have the reaction of what do they think? We scheduled this class with no plan as to how they'd be scheduled? Wednesday we were just going to say "oh sorry we forgot we needed people to run the restaurant while this class is going on?" I guess it wasn't a dumb question I was simply tired of answering it over and over again as I do with every question ever asked. I wish I had an "off switch" for these responses because they probably make me seem like a jerk, but I'm the boss--aren't I supposed to be the jerk? haha. just kidding.

I guess the point to all my rambling is that I should start to give the benefit of the doubt to my employees and better explain things to them even if I think they should already know them. Even if it is something I've done a billion times, like rolling silverware, it may be their first time so I need to take a deep breath and think before I speak... even though if I turn over a new leaf on this subject  I know some of my more veteran employees will be quite disappointed without my responses to the "newbies" that aren't getting it, but you can't please them all I suppose.

You always hear them say "There's no such thing as dumb questions. Only dumb answers." Well, if you're ever wondering "What would be a dumb answer to this question?" I've probably got one for you.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Month of Thankfulness


Wow! Where has this year gone?!? I can't believe it is already November. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I have so many wonderful things to be thankful for.

On Facebook, the trend this month is to each day list a thing to be thankful for. Last year I did not jump on the "bandwagon" but this year I have, and I enjoy it. Some people complain and say "we should be thankful everyday and not just during November. I completely agree, but we usually don't take the time to say out loud or so public on Facebook the things we are in fact thankful for (and that includes the people that are spouting off that thankfulness isn't limited to November lol).

So I would like to make a short list of the things I'm thankful for on here.

  • My sweet AJ. lol. We argue like an old married couple, bicker like siblings, love like soul mates, and share so many memories that I cherish. Our house may not always be clean. We may have dishes and laundry piled up for days, but the love we share brings me true happiness. I love that I'm going to spend the rest of my life with him. I love that I get to show him true love forever. I love that I get to share more memories with him in the future. 
  • My loving family. I am so very thankful to get to have such a large loving family. I love that it may not be blood that bonds us all together, but it is love.
  • My friends. It seems like the older we get the more we realize how few friends we have. lol. I love that I don't have to see or talk to some of my special friends every day or even week to know which ones I can count on through thick and thin no matter what. It warms my heart to know they are there for me through it all--good times as well as bad. 
  • My job. I'm so thankful to be employed when so many are not. I am so thankful that in turn I have a reliable car, a beautiful home, and all the things I need in life. I may not always have the things I "want" in life, but I am thankful to always have the things I need. 
  • My health. I am so thankful that I have my health. I may not be "in shape" or have the figure that everyone thinks I should--even myself lol, but I am thankful for my health as well as my family's health.
Thank you for letting me share my little slice of heaven--also known as my life--with you. I wish you all the best as the holidays are upon us... only 49 shopping days left til Christmas...

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Summer Full of Memories


My family has always meant the world to me. I have always known that I have a wonderful family. I have always known that we can count on each other during the good times and the bad. Thankfully up until 2012 almost all of the times I've been with my family have been good times and the happiest of memories. It's not even September yet and 2012 has been the biggest year of loss my family has experienced in the almost 26 years of my life. In April, we lost my Aunt Wanda (follow link to previous post), and it devastated me that the world lost such a free spirit.


Now, I want to share with the world what a wonderful, Godly man my Pawpaw was, how great my family is and how difficult this journey was on us all...


 (my Pawpaw and me a long, long time ago)

September 2010 the doctors found an extremely rare tumor in the direct center of my Pawpaw's brain. He was 70 years old, and they decided the best course of treatment would be radiation to keep the tumor from growing instead of removing it due to its location and his age. Radiation was not a permanent fix though, and July 9, 2012 he was admitted into ICU because this rapid growing tumor had started growing again. A new doctor had seen his case since 2010 and was willing to try surgery because the tumor was now terminal and radiation was no longer an option. There were great risks with this surgery. My Pawpaw knew them all and as a preacher of God's word for the last 35+ years, he had already made his "peace" with God and knew whatever the outcome, it would be better than what he was experiencing. Surgery was scheduled for Friday, July 13, 2012. I was supposed to start 13 days of vacation the next day. Thankfully my employer and coworkers worked it out so that I was able to join my family during the surgery. I arrived at the hospital that morning prior to them taking him back. We were able to pray with him and each other. He told us he loved us (a memory I will cherish for a lifetime). We cried. We held one another. They came to take him and wheel him to the operating room and we followed him until we weren't allowed any farther. The aching in my chest that he may not make it out of that surgery was one of the most real emotions I've had in my life.



Something I'm not sure we are ever ready for is to see the people we've looked up to our whole life in tears. It is an awful feeling in your core when you see your Daddy holding onto his sisters and mother as his Daddy is being wheeled away to a risky surgery on a terminal brain tumor. It is heart wrenching to think about the worry in their souls, and to see the sorrow on their faces because it is out of their hands. Seeing the strongest people I know at their breaking points was quite possibly the most humbling experience of my life.




(my daddy and his mama)

I learned a lot about myself and my family that day. It seemed like he was in surgery for an eternity.  We sat in silence a lot. Mostly though, we enjoyed each others' company--despite the circumstances. We laughed more than we probably ever thought we would. We laughed til we cried.Then, we cried til we laughed again. I know that God had his hand on us that day (as He does every day) because He was preparing us for the longest journey we've ever endured as a family.

My Pawpaw made it out of surgery 8+ hours later. They were able to remove most of the tumor, but he never really woke up from it. He was barely conscious for the next 13 days. Then, on July 26th, they took him down to insert a drain tube in his head--he already had a shunt, it wasn't working, it was not supposed to be a major event. Most of the family wasn't even in town (he was in the hospital 2+ hours away from where we live), let alone at the hospital when this was taking place. While they were performing this mildly routine procedure, he had a hemorrhage in his brain which sent him into a deep coma, and he was placed on a ventilator. After running tests that weekend and letting him rest, it was determined that next Monday, July 30, 2012 that there was nothing else medically that could be done. We were able to have him transferred back to our home town, they removed the ventilator between 5 and 6 pm that day, and we waited. And we waited. And we waited. We had just thought the previous 3-4 weeks had been exhausting, but nothing could've prepared us for this.

Something I had never honestly thought about in my whole entire life was what happens after "life support" is removed. On TV they make it seem so sudden. They remove the ventilator and then the crying starts, then the flat line and then they raise up the sheet and call "time of death". Well, I'm a television medical drama professional--House and Grey's are my favorites--but this was nothing like that. It was on the verge of torture sitting at his bedside or in the hallway because at times you can't bare to sit and watch him struggle for each breath.

 (guess this is proof we got a little sleep in the hospital lol)

It was emotionally draining to pray and beg God to either let him stand up and walk out of the hospital or go to heaven to meet Him. It was gut-wrenching to watch my grandmother--his wife for 47 years--sleep in a hospital "recliner" next to his bed every nite.

 (my mom-o and pawpaw's last pic together...I'll cherish it for the rest of my life)

It was torture to have to go to work and be on edge all day because at any moment you could get a phone call telling you to leave and come back to the hospital because "it's time". Well, after the longest week of our lives a little after midnight on the morning of Monday, August 6, 2012, my Pawpaw finally got his peace. The fight was over. He met our God and has been dancing on the streets of gold ever since.

The funeral was a beautiful remembrance of his life. It was a celebration because of his 2 favorite things--God and his family. A close 3rd was his love for Yankees Baseball though lol.


This experience through the loss of my Pawpaw has taught me several things:
  • Family will always stand by my side no matter what.
  • I have wonderful supportive friends that held me up when I didn't feel I could stand.
  • My employers are great because they gave me all the time I needed with my family--no questions asked.
  • Love does exist--my grandparents were living proof of that.
  • I need to get back in church because that's where God and my Pawpaw want me to be
  • AJ is one of the most supportive, loving men I've ever met in my life and I am thankful for him.
  • Sometimes it's okay to laugh even when all you want to do is cry.
  • Sometimes strong people feel weak too--and that's okay.
  • God has a plan through it all... even when we can't see it. 
Thank you for letting me share my journey with you all. God Bless! :-)

Monday, June 18, 2012

White Girl Homemade Broccoli Beef

So I made some Broccoli Beef and white rice one night a week or so ago. It was DELICIOUS if I might say so myself, but my favorite part about the night was that Cousin (no his name is not "cousin" but that's what I call him--not sure if I've ever mentioned him on here, but he's our "roommate" and my cousin) had a buddy over that night, and I told them that there were leftovers in the kitchen if they wanted some. Cousin loves when I cook. First of all, because he moved from living with our grandma to living with me, so he loves a good home cooked meal. Second, because he's not the most independent guy so cooking is kind of outta the question for him (haha if he sees this he will NOT agree). Well, anyway back to my story, Cousin was glad I cooked and got a big plate, however, his friend whom I've never cooked for before said (and I quote) "No offense, but I'm kind of afraid of a white girl in Oklahoma making Chinese food at home." haha I've never laughed so hard in my life, but long story short, he ate it and so I guess this small town white girl is a better cook than I thought. :-)


Now after all that bragging here's the recipe:



Ingredients:
Vegetable Oil
Cornstarch
Baking soda
Low-sodium soy sauce
Brown sugar
Head of Broccoli
Sugar
Flour
White Rice
Flank steak

First you must marinade the meat. I purchased about 1 3/4 lbs of flank steak from the grocery store. 

I bought it home and sliced it thin AGAINST the grain into strips like this:


 Here in this pic I am mixing the beef with the marinade. 

The marinade recipe goes as follows:
  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs flank steak
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce (if not using low sodium I would use more sugar to counter ALL the salt)
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil
Whisk together the ingredients then toss in beef. Marinade COVERED in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or longer.

While waiting on the meat to marinade, start preparing the head of broccoli by cutting into florets.


I used "boil in the bag" rice because it's quick and easy. I started boiling the water in a pot for the rice.

Then I started making the sauce:
 Sauce recipe (I prepared in a 2 cup measuring cup for easy pouring and less dishes) whisked together:
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar (pictured above)
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced (pictured below)
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (original recipe called for sherry. I did not have any on hand so I used an acid I had instead, and it was delicious)
  • 3 Tbsp Vegetable oil

While the rice is boiling and now that the sauce is ready I started heating up 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a large skillet over HIGH heat. (Asian food is very quick cooking so all this prep needs to be done ahead of time so that it can be thrown together quickly to be prepared correctly.)


When the oil is hot and "shiny" or shimmering, put in broccoli florets. Saute about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Broccoli will start to brown on edges quickly.
 
After 3 minutes it will not be "done", but remove it from the pan, and add another Tbsp of vegetable oil to pan and then add marinaded beef. 

Cook the beef with 1/2 of the sauce mixture and saute for 3-4 minutes or until beef is cooked through and no longer pink.


 Then, add the broccoli and the rest of the sauce mixture. Cook another 1 minute.

I then poured the rice into the bottom of a serving dish and topped it with the broccoli beef.

 It was THAT easy. Hope you all enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Busy, Busy Weekend

Did so much to our house this weekend, and I am one proud woman. AJ and a bunch of other helpers put a new roof on our house. Then I put a few helpers to work on some other exterior things. We took the ugly carpet off of our front porch, pulled weeds out/cleaned up the flower beds, painted the brick on the front of the house, painted the shutters, and then painted the front door. SUCCESS! I love how everything turned out. I am so proud of our house. I have been proud of the inside for awhile but never really loved the "curb appeal", but now that has all changed. Still indecisive about the front door color though. It turned out "Tiffany Blue" which wasn't exactly what I was going for, but it's some $5 clearance paint I found at Lowe's so I can't really complain. Going to post a few pics for you to enjoy then headed to bed for some much needed rest... hope you all enjoyed your Holiday Weekend and didn't work nearly as hard as we did. :-)

 The white trim on the door around the window is now black to match the doorknob. I haven't taken an updated pic yet...


Monday, May 7, 2012

Memories make my heart smile

I haven't written in awhile... I've had a rough couple of weeks, and I really want to keep my blog as a positive fun way to keep memories alive for the future. All the things I had to write about for these last couple weeks haven't been pleasant or happy so I've taken a break from writing on here until now. I am ready to smile. I am ready to be happy despite all the sadness and busyness.

In my last post, I told of the loss of my great aunt. Sadness came over me by having to type those words. It made it feel real when I didn't want it to be. Then just two days later I found out a friend from high school was in a terrible motorcycle wreck and passed away the next day. I have maybe only seen him once or twice since high school because as you all know time passes, life moves on, and people don't see each other as much. Even though we weren't really friends anymore, it doesn't mean I wasn't effected by his death. I am overcome with grief by his leaving of this Earth. He was so young--I'm so young. Too young to leave his family. He had a baby girl on the way--so hard for me to come to terms with this all. Then a couple days after the news of his death, I learned that my grandpa (not the one who has been sick) was having surgery and would spend some time in the hospital *he's doing better now.

It seems like everywhere I have turned for the last couple weeks all I wanted to do was cry, but most times I was too stunned by what was going on that no tears would form. Then, this past Friday, we had my Aunt Wanda's funeral. It was simple and beautiful and just what she wanted. My pawpaw did a wonderful job of helping us remember what a great woman she was. It made me smile to think of her. Then, my mom-o (that's what we call my dad's mom--long story) spoke of my aunt. As she began to remember her, I couldn't help but cry. I was surrounded by the people that loved her most, and all I could think of how much my grandma would miss her aunt--not just because she helped take care of her in the end, but because they were so very close. They were close like sisters, and so much fun to be around together. It always seemed like my Aunt Wanda brought out the fun in all of us. As tears began to flow down my cheeks for one of the first times since her death, I could not make them stop. My daddy hugged me, and that just made me cry harder. I sure do miss that woman so much already.

I laugh now because I promised in the beginning of this post that I was finally ready to not be a "debbie downer" with this post. I guess I was not. Just trying to find the way to remember without being so sad. Thanks for letting me pour my heart out once again. :-)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Smiling through the tears

Tonight I sit here lost deep in thought with a heavy heart. I woke up this morning (more accurately it was afternoon) to a text message from my daddy. All it said was "Aunt Wanda passed away this morning". The only thing that escaped my mouth was "Oh, no"... twice... AJ sleepily asked me what was wrong, and I told him the news we'd been waiting to hear but dreading all the same.

My Aunt Wanda was one of the funniest women I've ever met in my life. She was technically my dad's great aunt--my great grandma's little sister. She was in her early 80's when she passed today, and she was like an "extra" grandma to me growing up. Her kids/grandkids live in California and Arizona, and she lived out west with them and in Oklahoma with us off and on throughout my life. The times she was with her immediate family I missed having her around, but then again I knew that she was with the ones she loved the most. When I was in middle school, it was one of the times she was living here, and my parents had just divorced and her husband passed away, so my dad moved in with her; therefore, every other weekend not only did I spend the weekends with my dad, but also, my Aunt Wanda. I guess she was in her late 60's/early 70's at the time, and she had more energy than women half her age. I loved the time spent with her. She would cook us dinner--before she retired she was the head of the nutrition department for a large school district in California. I loved when she cooked for us. She's the only person in our family with a culinary background, maybe that's where I get my love to cook and love for my job. She tried to teach me to sew, now I wish I had learned. She used to threaten to beat my brother or dad with her shoe, I believed she'd do it. She was inappropriate and wonderful. She cussed like a sailor and no matter how badly my parents didn't want her to in front of us, she did it anyway. She was the epitome of the idea that when you get old you can say or do anything because you've earned the right. She never pretended to be anyone but herself. I loved that most about her.

 (Aunt Wanda and Colt Wesson September 2011)

She got frail and sick with age and moved back to Oklahoma a little less than a year ago. I think she knew her time was coming so she came back here to rest in peace where her husband of so many years passed away as well. She had my grandma here to help take care of her. She had my dad and his sisters too. I'm glad she knew she was loved here. I'm glad she got to meet AJ. I'm glad she really liked him. I'm glad she got to meet my sweet nephew Colt (her great, great, great nephew). I'm sad my future children will never get the pleasure of knowing her. I'm sad I didn't take the time to go to the nursing home to tell her I loved her just one last time. I'm sad that it takes situations like this for my WHOLE family to come together again for the funeral.  I'm sad that her granddaughter that she raised won't be able to make it for the funeral because of selfish decisions. I'm hurt by selfishness, but I'm hurt the most from the loss of a woman that truly broke the mold. I strive to be as bold as she was in her life. I strive to be a strong woman like her. I strive to keep her strength alive by remembering her.

Today was not a good day for me, but as I sit here now and remember, I can smile through the tears because I know she's not in pain anymore. I also know that the world lost a great woman today...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tie Dye Cupcakes



I made some baked goodies for a bake sale my friend had a couple weeks ago. She is raising money to go on a mission trip to Haiti this summer. Among these things, I made some Tie Dyed Cupcakes, and they turned out wonderful. I hope you enjoy them too.

I used a white box cake mix per the instructions and split it up into 5 different bowls with 5 different food coloring like this:


Then I poured the batter one scoop of each color into cupcake lined muffin tins until all 5 colored batters are in the the cups.

Then bake for recommended time according to the box. Let cool and ice and top with sprinkles...



Sunday, April 8, 2012

Choosing My Battles

A life lesson I have not thought much about in the past is "choosing my battles". I am one of those people that practices this valuable caution, but I'd never really thought about the importance of it until recently; it seems like every time I turn around lately I want to look so many people in the face and scream "Choose your battles! This is not worth it!"

It all started a couple weeks ago on facebook. I am a very firm believer in keeping drama out of social media sites. I also think that some things honestly are not the business of the world and shouldn't be shared so publicly. A "friend" on facebook (I use quotes because she's an acquaintance) decided that her status was the best place to discuss her relationship issues. Someone pointed out (nicely in my opinion) that facebook wasn't the place to discuss such a private issue--the war was on! It turned into a giant issue between everyone posting comments as it will do on social media sites. Everyone was either defending the boyfriend or defending her and bashing the boyfriend or telling her that facebook wasn't the place to address it.

This situation made me realize that I have way more respect for AJ than that. I strongly believe that if you have an issue with your "other half" then it should remain between the two of you. Whether it's venting to a friend, mentioning to my mom an issue I have with him, or putting him on blast on facebook-it is not for me. I realize that I love him so much that even though I may be frustrated with him at the time, but I will forgive him. We will be okay because I love him, but my friends/family will always have the thoughts in the back of their minds of when he hurt me. Even if I'm over it, it may change their view of him, and that is not my desire. I also have more respect for him as a man to not put something that I think he "did wrong" all over facebook. He, as the love of my life, does not deserve to be treated that way by anyone--especially me.

The next situation that taught me this important lesson was my employees. It seems like the story of my life at work is choosing my battles. I realize that my staff is not perfect and there are thousands of little things I might do differently or would change about the way things happen, but that does not mean that every single thing every single time will get pointed out by me. I've realized that there is "more than one way to skin at cat" and as long as they are properly doing their job there are a few things that can be overlooked in order to keep up morale. So, I choose carefully which battles I choose to fight... which I as the manager will win. haha.

Just a little rambling that's been on my mind lately...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kristen's Chicken

I've really been wanting to add some of my recipes on my blog, but I always forget to take pictures of my food before it gets devoured so I never do. Today when I made my homemade chicken nuggets I finally remembered to take some pictures so I can share this yummy recipe with you.




These are HOMEMADE breaded chicken nuggets and breaded fried squash.

First, I made a breading station using 3 pie plates.

The first and third plates include the same ingredients.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion power
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. Lawry's Seasoning Salt

The middle plate had an egg mixture containing 3 large eggs and approximately 2 Tbsp. of cold water.


I had 10 boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins. I cut them into 1" cubes. I first put about half of the cubed chicken into the first flour mixture to cover, then I shake off the excess flour and put it into the egg mixture and move the chicken around in the egg to cover. With a fork I pick up the chicken so the excess egg can drain off. Then, I put chicken into the third pan containing the flour mixture and coat it. I put the coated chicken into a separate plate, and continue with the second half of the chicken through the same process.

 (It's a little messy, but so worth it)


I then fry the chicken in 360 degree vegetable oil in my deep fryer for approximately 4 minutes per batch (do not overcrowd oil so chicken will come out crispy and will not stick together). When I pull the chicken out of the oil I place it on a paper towel lined plate, and I sprinkle salt on chicken as soon as it comes out of the fryer.


This same process can be used with whole chicken strips instead of nuggets, but will need to cook for 5-6 minutes.

**I use the exact same process for squash and zucchini and cook for 2-3 minutes. If I make it at the same time as the chicken, I bread the zucchini first to avoid cross contamination with the raw chicken.**

I serve this with Ketchup or Ranch Dressing. I make homemade ranch with 1 Buttermilk Recipe Hidden Valley Packet, 1 cup real Mayo, and 1 cup of buttermilk. I wisk it all together, then let it sit in the refrigerator covered for at least 30 minutes before serving.

It's my favorite! I hope you ENJOY! :-)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Joys of Adulthood

First of all, I want to give a quick update on my pawpaw... he went back to the doctor yesterday for his follow-up appointment after surgery last week and we got a wonderful report. The mass they removed last week was superficial so when they removed it they definitely got it all so no chemo and after monday no more catheter!!! Thank you so much for your prayers!

Other than that exciting news let's see... what has been going on in my world?!?! I have been a busy busy woman lately it seems. I had a three day weekend last weekend which I couldn't have been more excited about, and I have another one this weekend--talk about a lucky girl! (I traded shifts with another manager because he is going to Vegas in a week and then I will be working 11 days straight without a day off so I will be less excited then haha.)

We went to the Full Moon Cafe in Tulsa last Saturday night with another couple and had so much fun! I didn't know the place even existed. For those of you that enjoy a casual drink and dueling pianos this is the place to go! I used to go to piano bars all the time when I lived in Florida and I LOVE them, but I didn't even know there was one so close to home. I will definitely be dragging AJ back there soon.

Then Sunday my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew came over for dinner. They came over so my brother could try to fix my dryer that decided to DIE last week--one of the not so fun things about being an adult, but oh, how I love spending time with them. Let me take this opportunity to tell you my favorite part about being a "grown-up". I love that my brother and I (who are only 17.5 months apart) can be so close. I consider him and his wife to be some of my very best friends. In high school, I never would've guessed I could say that about him, but it's true. I love that we've grown up and learned to appreciate and love one another. I love my sister-in-law not only because of the great friend she is to me, but also, the wonderful wife she is to my brother and mother she is to my nephew. I hope that when my younger siblings (they are 18, 15, and 12) grow up we can all be as close and that they have as amazing spouses as well--being the oldest of 5 I want lots and lots of nieces and nephews and bunches of in-laws. :-)

Showing off a pic of my nephew and his cool tricks... or maybe he was "saving it for later" either way he's pretty impressive in my opinion lol.


Then my Monday off was pretty un-eventful. I relaxed at home all day and did some dishes and picked up the house a little (which now on Friday you can't tell I did anything--oh well, another one of the things I DON'T love about being a grown-up lol). Tuesday it was back to work then dinner with a good friend--and the borrowing of the washer and dryer so I could have clean clothes for work because my brother was not successful at fixing my dryer on Sunday :-(

Wednesday I got to see my sweet nephew again. Wednesdays are our days together and I cherish that time with him so much--I've been babysitting him at least one day a week since he was 5 weeks old and I wouldn't trade that time with him for anything in the whole wide world, but this Wednesday his mommy was sick so she was going to drop him off and then go back home to be sickly. Plans changed and she ended up sickly on my couch all morning then taking him home early. I was sad to see him leave early and sad to see her sick but so glad to spend one on one time with her--that doesn't happen nearly often enough.

Thursday boring except the part where we got the good report on my pawpaw! I passed out Pampered Chef catalogs to potential customers then went to work. Today I went and got my nails done--two and half hours later they are super cute. I've had a pretty great night at work. I found out my nephew started walking--can't wait to see it for myself. I'm going to try and get some sleep tonight because I have some exciting super secret plans for this weekend (more details on monday after I get back from my trip and the secret will be over and I can explain how exciting it is)...

Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend! God Bless! :-)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Appalled

Sorry Folks, but I need to do a little venting because I am in shock of something that happened this evening. (There is a little graphic language in this because it is dialouge in the story so please keep that in mind when reading.)

A little backstory...

A few months ago it was kind of getting late in the night, and I was at work--there weren't many customers in the restuarant at the time. One of my servers came into the kitchen crying because a man was being rude to her. She said he was angry and rude because there was lettuce on his burger and was apologizing to me because she didn't remember him asking for no lettuce. I calmed down my employee and fixed the man's burger and walked into the dining room (took a total of about 3 minutes to fix). I found the man angrily standing in front of the entrance to the kitchen--waiting to speak to me. I smiled and told him I had fixed his burger, and while holding it in my hand, he continued to belittle and scream at me about how incompetent he thought my employee was for putting lettuce on his burger. (Does any one else see a problem with anyone getting this angry at a stranger over lettuce?!?)

He refused to eat the burger or even take it to go--even though it was IN MY HAND and fixed. He left angry and swore he'd never be back; however, the next day he returned when I wasn't there and joked with the staff and manager on duty at the time laughing while saying "I was an asshole to those girls last night."

Since then he's been in a couple times, always speaks and is genuinely pleasant to me, and I try not to hold it against him. BUT we still fondly refer to him as "the burger guy" haha...

Then tonight....

A friend and I went to a local restaurant for her to have a late dinner, and I was going to have dessert and sit with her so she didn't have to eat alone. We were seated at a booth in the back--there were only about 3 other tables in the restaurant including a couple at one booth right behind us and then a couple guys at the bar--one of which happens to be one of my employees.

My friend was texting and receiving messages while we sat and waited on the server to bring our drinks and take our order. The woman at the booth behind us said something (I'm assuming asking what the noise was) I didn't understand and he loudly said "I guess it's someone's f***ing phone going off!" I asked her if she heard him--she hadn't and then she put her phone on silent so it wouldn't disturb anyone including them.

The server brought our drinks and there was a piece of ice stuck to the side of the glass. I was talking to my friend while trying to get it unstuck with my straw and knocked my glass over! It was embarrassing because I hadn't even taken a drink out of it yet, and it almost went all over my friend. The woman from the next booth again yelled "That's what you get you stupid bitch!" I was shocked. Then my employee joked from the bar "Hey, Kristen! Do you need a lid?" I joked back "I think I need a sippie cup!" We laughed and the man then said loudly "I think you need a f***ing babysitter too!"

I am a 25 year old adult professional woman in a nearly empty restaurant being treated so horribly by a stranger that I nearly LOST it. I was angry I needed to walk away. So I went to the restroom to get away and chatted with my employee and his friend at the bar briefly and walked back to the table...having to walk past the angry booth to get back to my seat. Apparently while I was in the bathroom, the couple was still angrily speaking loudly about us and my friend turned around and said to them calmly "Didn't your mother ever teach you that if you don't have anything nice to say then you probably shouldn't say it?" The woman yelled back something about jumping over the booth to get at my friend.

They were packing up to go boxes and about to leave when I walked past them, but I got a good enough look at him to realize he was "The Burger Guy" and it ALL made sense.

Although when this all happened his back had been toward me, so there was no way he knew it was me before I went to the restroom, but the attitude made sense. It is clear that he/they do not care who you are or if there is a reason--they will be rude. I am still in shock at the way this situation unfolded (over a cell phone getting text messages at 10pm in a nearly empty restaurant). Some people have ZERO respect for people or know how to behave appropriately....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Heartache

Today was one of those days that you are afraid to say "what else could go wrong today?" because then it will.

We found out my Pawpaw (my dad's dad) has prostate cancer--prayers appreciated. We won't know how bad it is until next week when they do surgery. I am sad that he is in bad health, and it seems he can't catch a break (about a year and half ago they found an unrelated mass on his brain). He is one of the Godliest men I know. I admire him for all he has done for our entire family. He is our rock--but so humble about it that it's like he doesn't even know that's the way he is. I used to be much closer to my grandparents when I was young (like age 8 and younger), and I have very fond memories of my grandparents' old house in the country and playing outside in the summertime.

I remember watching star trek sitting on my grandparents' bed with my Pawpaw eating popcorn. I had ZERO interest in the show. I really just wanted to steal his popcorn and listen to him try to explain a show to me that I had no idea what he was talking about--I still don't get the point of the show.

Over the years, we just kind of all grew apart, and I grew up and things kind of changed. One thing will always remain the same, my Pawpaw is one of the kindest, giving, and Godly men I know. He raised my dad and his sister like they were his own since my dad was like 5 years old, and for that, I have the utmost respect. I think it takes the greatest courage to raise a child as your own and give them your last name because it is the RIGHT thing to do even if it's not the EASY thing to do. My Pawpaw made my daddy to be the wonderful man he is today and for that I will always be grateful. Because my Pawpaw was such a good and generous man to my Mom-o (my dad's mom--long story why that's her name lol) and her children, I will always be gracious. I will always know I have him to thank to have been raised with the values and the morals that have been instilled in me since day one.

My prayer for my Pawpaw is that he won't have to suffer. Whether God has a miracle in the works and wants to heal him, or if He's planning on taking him home, my prayer is that he isn't in pain. I pray that my family is prepared for this upcoming battle and that it makes us stronger rather than dividing us. I pray that my Mom-o is ok. I pray that she is strong enough for this battle. I pray that she feels the love of our family as well as God's love surrounding her. I pray for my sweet cousin who was practically raised by my grandparents. I pray that he can accept what is coming and deal with it accordingly--no matter how hard that may be. Lastly, I pray for my daddy and his two sisters. I pray that they might have the strength to be helpful and come closer through all of this. I pray that their "other halves" will step up and be what they need them to be during this difficult journey. I pray that I might be the best daughter/niece/granddaughter/cousin through all of this and be as supportive and comforting as they need. I pray for peace--in our minds and souls about this situation.

Thank you all for "listening" to my heartache tonight.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Life may give you lemons, but it also gives you someone to help you make lemonade with them.

I feel so far behind. It's been over a week since I've written! I don't like it at all, but my life has been super crazy in the last week. Sunday was my first Pampered Chef party! I had so much fun. I'll be honest that the turn-out wasn't quite as amazing as I thought it was going to be, but the people closest to me plus an extra super special girl I hadn't seen in a while were there. I've had some additional orders outside of the party so it's going to work out pretty well for my first order being placed tomorrow.

So I spent the whole weekend cleaning to prepare for all the guests at my house. I finally finished my kitchen redecorating that I started the weekend before, and it looks pretty good if I might say so myself--especially since pretty much everything was "budget friendly".  (I will post pictures sometime soon)

Also, this week I learned how hard it is for me to not get overly invested in things/people. It's like when I care about something or someone I have to give it/them 110%. I guess that's not a completely bad thing, but it starts to wear on you. It's easier to get your heart broken by people or your feelings hurt if you care so much. I do it a lot with my employees too. It's hard for me when I find out one or some them have been talking about me--I take it so personally, but then I have to try to step back and realize, everyone talks about their boss at some time or another and it's not personal most of the time. SIGH.

 I posted on facebook about this exact subject because my feelings were hurt, and I was having an "emotional day" because female hormones are so lovely and sometimes you just get upset because you feel like it--or even if you don't feel like it...

 I ended up deleting the post on facebook today--about 24 hours later because it was pretty negative and I'm not usually the one to post negative things so publically. However, the response I received in that 24 hours was overwhelming. I realized that I DO have friends or at least people who are close enough to know my heart and know that I have good intentions--even when ranting on facebook. I appreciated all the encouragement and today was a much better day. I probably offended some people with how blunt I was about them talking behind my back, but I realized if they are guilty enough to get upset about it then they probably thought it was about them because they were guilty and had been doing it...so I feel less bad about that. It started out being in reference to a specific situation but really was more in general about how much people talk about other people and how much it frustrates me.

I have a lot of younger employees so I'm around the gossiping so much--it is exhausting sometimes to listen to all them bicker and fight with one another over the most trivial things, but I guess that's one of the joys of management huh?

On a happier note, last night AJ (after knowing how heartbroken I was over the gossiping) was even sweeter than he normally is. I have to tell you--he is a very sweet guys, but last night he let me ramble about girl stuff and didn't criticize or ignore me for "just being a girl." He genuinely loved me and held me until I felt all better, and that ladies and gentlemen is one of the 1,763,054,834 (approximately haha) reasons that I love him so very much. So thankful to have my soulmate by my side--no matter how much friends, family, or others in my life hurt my heart I know that he has it and is protecting it from the storm.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Plate Project


First of all isn't my new kitchen wall color so cute?!? Second of all I love my plates on the wall (would've taken a picture of the whole wall with the table and everthing in it to give you the whole picture, but there's still a mess from painting sitting on the table so I didn't lol).

I went to Target today and purchased 7 plates for approximately $2-4 each. When I got home (almost immediately because I was so excited that I couldn't wait), I tore off wax paper about the size of the area I wanted to cover in plates--I had to tape three long strips together--for the future I would use something thicker like craft paper instead though.

I laid the taped wax paper on the counter and arranged the plates the way I liked them on it. After I thought I had it all the way I wanted it, I traced around them with a black sharpie.


Then I took this picture so I would remember which designs I had where so that I would know how to hang them.

I then hung the wax paper to the wall and got the plates ready to hang.



This picture shows why I would use something heavier than wax paper next time.

Ok are you ready for the GENIUS way to hang these?!?! I hot glued old pop can tabs to the back like the next picture shows.



Once glue was dry on all seven plates, I put a nail in each circle on the wax paper about an inch and half or so from the top of the circles. Then, I removed the wax paper from the wall. And hung the plates by the glued pop tab on the back.

It literally took about 15-20 minutes for this easy and cute project for my kitchen wall. Can't wait for the silverware on canvas that I am going to make for the opposing wall--soon to come.



There's the completed project again! :-)






Sunday, February 19, 2012

Change is Good

Today I woke up and went to a baby shower for a sweet friend of mine--an old co-worker. She's expecting a little girl. I am so happy for her and enjoyed catching up with friends I hadn't seen in awhile. Today was a reminder that change is good. Even though I have a new job now and we don't see each other often, I know that I still have true friends I can count on. In my opinion, those are the best kinds of friends--the ones that you don't have to talk to every day, but you know that they are there no matter what because they're that good of a friend--just a phone call away.

After all the baby shower festivities, my mom came over and spent quality time with me painting my kitchen. So excited! I love the new color and my kitchen looks SO much better (even thought it didn't look bad before it wasn't what I preferred). It's now a neutral tan (rather than bright red and sage green). So now I feel like the walls need something bolder on them. Now I see that the decor that was on the bright walls isn't bright/dark enough to be on the tan walls... Well guess that means I get to go shopping. Oh, darn. I guess I will take one for the team and go shopping for stuff for my kitchen--MY FAVORITE THING TO DO!

Also, this comes at a perfect time because I am having my first Pampered Chef party next weekend. I am also very excited about this. I finally signed up to be an Independent Consultant for Pampered Chef last week. My starter kit was delivered on Thursday, and it felt like Christmas at my house! I just kept opening more and more boxes of great kitchen gadgets and products. I cannot wait until everyone is at my house next week for my party so I can show off all these great products!

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend as much as I am... Tomorrow we're headed to spend time with AJ's family for his grandpa's 80th birthday--excited to get to spend time with his family and share in the joy of this amazing milestone of 80 years....

I made a quick salsa for the birthday party that is my favorite and so very easy.

Recipe:
2 cans original Rotel
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chunky Rotel
half a bunch of Cilantro
4 green onions
4 garlic cloves
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

Put one can of original Rotel, Cilantro, 2 green onions (green and whites), garlic cloves, and salt into food processor until smooth.

Open the other cans and put contents in a large bowl. Add the blended mixture from food processor. Add other 2 green onions (green and whites) sliced into small rounds. Add juice of lime. Let sit in refrigerator for at least a couple hours to let flavors mix.

Serve with Tortilla chips.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The King to my Kingdom


This may be my favorite post to write so far, but now, I'm not sure where to begin. With it being Valentine's Day I figured it'd only be fitting to tell you more about the love of my life, the man that puts a smile on my face like no one else on Earth can. He is truly my other half. It's that Ying-Yang thing. We balance each other but fit together perfectly all at the same time. I never thought I'd ever fall in love, let alone have that mind-numbing, life-altering kind of love.

We met, and he never left my mind. We didn't speak again but once or twice after meeting. Then, nearly two years later we started dating, and I've never looked back. In May, we will celebrate our three year anniversary, and I couldn't be more happy. Sometime between now and our anniversary (I'm pretty sure--fingers crossed) I will become his fiancee instead of just his girlfriend. I cannot wait. I love being with him. I love everything about him. I cannot wait to plan our wedding and our future together.


I love even the smallest little things about him. I love the way he smells after a shower. I love the way he kisses me on the cheek. I love the way he drives me crazy while I'm trying to cook dinner, and he thinks he needs to come help. I love the way he looks at me--whether we're home alone or in a room full of people he gives me this smile that only he can give me. I love that he'd do ANYTHING in the world for me--like the time he drove to the store at 1am to get milk because I poured cereal and then noticed we were out. I love how he gets frustrated when I don't understand when he tries to explain things (I mean I'm a girl and some stuff I just don't get because I'm not a boy). I love that he knows how to do some many things--he's very handy, and I appreciate him for that. I love that he is a hardworking man that endures so many hours at work just to provide for me. I love that he can make me laugh even when I really don't want to. I love how goofy he is sometimes--but also how sincere he is. I love how well he treats my family--especially my sweet nephew. I love how sometimes he gets a little jealous--it's cute--not like the super creepy, scary jealousy. I love him because no matter what I know that he has my back--against anyone. I love the way he loves me--unconditionally.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Super Bowl = Super Food

I've been wanting to post about the yummy goodies I made for the Super Bowl this past Sunday, but silly me, I forgot to take pictures of these delicious foods. However, I got the recipes off of Pinterest. I will add the links from there and tell you what I did differently, if anything, to make it.

**Not all these pictures are not my own. They belong to the original poster. Please follow the link with the recipe to see the Original Post.**


Let's start with dessert--it's my favorite, and I've never really been a fan of "saving the best for last" anyway.




S'mores Krispy Treats
Link to Recipe from Pinterest
Although these do not have "Rice Krispie" cereal in it, they are made about the same way and are even more delicious.

The recipe calls for:
1/4 cup butter
1 (10 oz) bag regular marshmallows (I used mini marshmallows because I think they melt faster)
1 box of Golden Graham cereal (I broke up the box inside the bag to make both smaller and larger sizes before putting it in)
1-2 cups Chocolate Chips (I used semi-sweet mini chocolate chips)
Magic Shell (optional) (I did not use this)

Before I started I put my chocolate chips and about a cup of the marshmallows in the freezer. I melted the butter in a large pot, and then melted the marshmallows in the butter continuously stirring (just like in Rice Krispie treats). When the marshmallows had melted into a smooth mix, I added the partially broken up Golden Graham cereal. I let it stand for about a minute then I stirred in about 3/4 of the frozen chocolate chips (if you do not freeze them, I learned the hard way that it becomes a big chocolate mess instead of a pretty treat--still yummy but not pretty) and the frozen marshmallows. The chocolate and marshmallows start to melt a little but do not spread throughout the entire mixture, and I enjoyed this better than the last time I made it. I spread it into a buttered baking dish (I think mine was a 9"x11" pan) then topped it with the remaining frozen mini chocolate chips.


Next, I made Pizza Muffins. I have made these twice now and been a big crowd pleaser.

Pizza Muffins
Link to Recipe from Pinterest


This recipe calls for:
3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
pinch of red pepper flakes
3/4 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I just realized that I did not add Parm but it was fine without it)
1 cup cubed pepperoni
1/2 cup store-bought pizza sauce (I used a jar of Marinara from the spaghetti sauce aisle instead of the pizza brand because I like it better)

I doubled this recipe and made 24 regular sized muffins... the recipe called for 24 mini muffins without doubling anything.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
This is not in the recipe, but I browned up some Italian Sausage (the bulk kind not in the casing) and let it cool and drain on a paper towel covered plate. Then, I mixed up all the ingredients (I also added some garlic powder and onion powder--about a half of a teaspoon each) in a large bowl (including the sausage). Let stand for a few minutes--I took this time to spray cooking spray on the muffin tins and to chop up some cooked bacon (also not in the recipe). I then scooped out the mixture into the muffin tins (1/2 - 3/4 full--they do not rise much). Then I topped the muffins with chopped cooked bacon and shredded Colby and Montery Blend Cheese (also not in the recipe). Bake for 18-22 minutes. Then put on serving dish with heated marinara.

I also made some homemade buttermilk ranch dressing to go with this. I used Hidden Valley Buttermilk Recipe Packet with 1 cup of real mayo and 1 cup of buttermilk. Wisk together and let it stand in refrigerator for at least half an hour before serving.


I also made some Spinach Dip, but I will save that one for another day because I did not like the way it turned out and am looking for a new recipe.

Hope you all enjoy... Have a great weekend...


Monday, February 6, 2012

"New" Friendship


I have been doing a lot of heavy thinking tonight. I'm not sure what the deal is, but I'm sitting up late tonight with so much swirling through my head. This quote reminds me of one of my dear friends. So thankful to have her back into my life. We were the best of friends for so long in high school and immediately after. Some heartache happened, and we lost mostly all contact for about seven years. Life went on. We grew up. Things still reminded me of her from time to time, and it made me smile sometimes, cry sometimes, but mostly it made me remember.

I would remember all the good times we shared. I would remember all the tears we shed. I would remember all the laughs.

After all this time, through more heartache, we have come back to a place of friendship again. I know that things will never be the same again. I am not going to be unrealistic and think that all this time can pass and things will just "go back to normal" because normal isn't the same anymore. I guess the best way to explain this is that I don't want to "fix" our old friendship, but rather, I'd like to enjoy our whole new friendship that is currently developing. I am enjoying re-learning things about each other. I'm enjoying becoming friends as we are now--as adults. She's now a mother of two beautiful children, and I am a grown-up on the verge of engagement.

It's wonderful because I get to share new experiences with her. We get to share the things we "missed" in the seven years we weren't friends, and I'm enjoying the new "normal" in our lives. So far it was worth the seven year wait, and it is an exciting journey of "re-knowing" each other. So thankful for this opportunity in our lives. I know that we needed that time apart to become who we are today in order to have the friendship now that I do so very much cherish.

Thank you for letting me share a little of my heart with you tonight. Hopefully next time I write I will be a little less sad and heartfelt and a little more cheerful and entertaining instead.

Hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Success--or my version of it...


Another wonderful day in my life has me sitting here pondering life's most deepest thoughts. I ran across this quote on Pinterest, and it has me thinking... 


I love Reba--she's a good Oklahoma girl, and I love this quote.

My "wishbone" has me dreaming all the time. I think I've always kind of been a dreamer. When I was younger I wanted to be an editor for some big fashion magazine--wouldn't that be cool. Then, I wanted to write a book--still think it'd be fun. I got a little more realistic and decided it'd be exciting to own my own restaurant--by the way, I have since thought about it and realized it would be a whole lot of work and not realistic being a woman that would like to start a family...just have to have priorities I guess (and the older I get the more those priorities change). I would like to own my own business someday, but I guess that will be a bridge I will cross when I get to that point in my life.

My "backbone" is something I'm not sure I had for the first 20 years of my life. I was so nice (not that I think I'm a jerk now), but I was nice to a fault. I let people walk all over me. I would do anything anyone wanted/needed me to do without getting anything in return. I'm not saying that you shouldn't do things for people because I think I'm still pretty good at helping people, but I think if you are doing for others so much more than for yourself, you start getting taken advantage of and no one really respects you. There is nothing worse than not being respected in my opinion. It is an awful feeling when you realize that people will do or say anything to you because they know they can "get away with it", and you will still be there for them the next day because you don't stand up for yourself.

I'm not sure the exact moment that I found my backbone, but I remember the slow process of finding it. It was a rough battle that included a lot of heartache. I don't think I've cried so much in my life, before or after, than I did when I realized that no one was standing up for me--including myself. I found my self-respect and picked myself up off the floor and decided then and there that I would not be treated the way I had been treated most of my life anymore. I would not let my sweet spirit come across as a push-over any longer. I am much better at that now than I was then. I think working in restaurants has helped me a lot with getting thicker skin and being a stronger person in general. Waiting tables was something that really showed me people's true colors. It showed me that not everyone is nice, not everyone has good intentions, and not everyone is honest. I am thankful of everything I have learned, and that I have come out on top.

My "funnybone" is something I didn't always know that I had either. My brother has always been "the funny one." I don't know how many times in the last 10-15 years I have said "My brother is the funniest person I know" because it is true. He is hilarious. He can tell a story better than anyone I know. He can make me smile on the darkest of days. I love him so very much, but I kind of have him to thank for finding my humor I think--both making people laugh and being able to laugh at my own expense. My brother is only 17.5 months younger than me so we grew up very close, and he has picked on me for years. He cracks jokes about me/to me all of the time! Listening to him used to get to me. It used to hurt my feelings that he'd joke about me all the time--until I learned to "fight back" and learned how to better "take a joke." Now, I can tell one-liners and come-backs like nobody's business. He can pop off a joke, and I'm right there with him--back and forth every time we're together. The best though is when he and I have a mutual target such as a cousin, parent, friend, etc. We can pick on that person together all day long--aren't the funniest jokes at other people's expense (all in good fun of course--we're not bullies).

So, I guess my point in all this is that I feel like a pretty "successful" person these days. I don't see success as wealth or power. I see it as being a good-natured, dreaming, self-respecting person. A person that is an asset to society. I feel like I sometimes help make this world a little easier to live in for some people some days, and I feel like I appreciate and love the people around me. I don't think that's too much to ask for or expect from others--just a little mutual respect and tolerance in today's society is good for us all, in my opinion.

Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and enjoy the rest of your week.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Normal" Weekends

Wow... What a weekend off! I have LOVED it... Starting this weekend I have Saturday AND Sunday's off now... If you know anything about the restaurant industry, then you know that is unheard of, and I couldn't be any happier about this. AJ has "normal" weekends off too so we got to enjoy two full days off together, and it was wonderful.

Yesterday, we went to the pig show (first one I'd ever been to) to watch my brothers and 3 year old nephew (well technically he's my cousin, but my family's kinda special so don't ask me to put the family tree together... just trust me he's more like a nephew because his momma is one of my dearest friends). They did their pig showing things--still not sure how it all works, but I was supportive and pretended I had a clue. I also had an excuse to wear my cowboy boots so I was excited.


This is what my super cute boots look like. LOVE them--bought them for a George Strait concert in 2008 and have only worn them like 10-15 times since so I get pretty excited for any chance I get to wear them. I had so much fun watching them show their pigs--they did so good in my untrained clueless eyes, and I couldn't be any more proud of them...

Then went for a "night on the town" with AJ and one of my bestest friends in the whole world. That was a blast--but one of those "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" kinda nights, so, that's all the details I can give you. Then this morning woke up much too early for a Sunday off of work, and went to a yummy breakfast, took a big ol wonderful Sunday afternoon nap that can't feel nearly as good on any other day of the week, and then some good friends came over for dinner. I made roasted pork loin, rolls, salad with homemade ranch dressing, corn, and roasted/fried potatoes. These potatoes were my demise tonight. I am normally a pretty decent cook and have people over for dinner almost every Sunday night--it's my favorite time of the whole week. I have made roasted red potatoes with butter, salt, pepper, and vegetable seasoning a million times, and they are usually pretty fail-proof. I seemed to forget how long they take in the oven, and it seemed like they would NEVER be finished. The pork loin was done to perfection and waiting on the potatoes (guess I should've started them before the meat instead of the other way around). So, being impatient and surrounded by hungry people, I poured the potatoes in a pan on the stove, cranked the heat up to high, and fried those bad boys in aforementioned butter until they were golden and wonderful (I mean, what wouldn't be wonderful after frying in butter?).

Moral of the story: If all else fails, fry it. Oh, and don't forget that roasting potatoes in the oven takes a very long time so you should probably start cooking them before 8pm!

Hope ya'll have a great week and enjoyed your weekends as much as I did!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Feeling Adventurous



It seems right now all I keep doing is going "down new paths." Starting this blog a week ago has been incredibly exciting and has helped me learn more about myself/get back to enjoying things that I love--I mean, a girl can't just work, eat, watch TV and sleep; there has to be more. Don't get me wrong--I love my life. I am very happy, but writing is something that I enjoy but have not been keeping up with much now that I am no longer in school. This blog has been a great way to move forward with my life like "an adult." Sometimes I forget that I am one of those, but I am. I turned 25 last September. I will be getting married in the next year or two, and being a "grown-up" now, I would like to share some life experiences before I forget about them--I will be old and senile before I know it. HAHA ok maybe it's not THAT bad, but it seems this most recent birthday has hit me harder than the previous ones. I feel like I need to accomplish more. I feel like I haven't accomplished as much as I thought I would at this age. I feel like I need to remember what it's like to dream and work toward acheiving goals--rather than getting stuck in the "day to day" monotony.

Well, my newest adventure I'm wanting to embark on is becoming a sales consultant for Pampered Chef! I am so very excited. I sat down with a very nice lady that also sells it in this area, and after that conversation, I was even more sure that this is something I want to and can do. I feel like it is attainable and although I work around 50 hours/week at the restuarant I think it is something I can work into my schedule enough to make some extra money on the side. Who doesn't like extra money afterall? It will take some effort to get up and running and to keep it going, but I know that I have lots of friends and family that will LOVE to have the opportunity to purchase such amazing kitchen gadgets, accessories, and spices. Not to mention, I am incredibly excited about the good deals I will be able to take advantage of.

I am looking forward to what the future holds, and I cannot wait to see how great this adventure will be in my life to help better support AJ and myself. I love him so very much for giving me the opportunity to follow whatever makes me happy whether it be a blog, selling pampered chef, wanting donuts in the middle of the night, or going on a vacation. His goal is to make me happy no matter what and I know how blessed I am to have that/him in my life. I hope that all of you can be so lucky to find a man (or woman) that would drop everything just to make you smile, and if you are that lucky, don't take it for granted and show him the same in return. Hope you all have a blessed weekend.