You wouldn't like me when I'm hungry

Dark Side

Have you ever met a friend that just gets you? No matter how much you can act a certain way, talk a certain way, be a certain way, they know who you really are?

It’s incredible when it happens, because it does not happen very often. At least not for me. I can be so vulnerable and yet comfortable at the same time. I am putty in their hands, they can smash me into goop. Or they can warm me in their hands and shape me into something I never thought I’d be. They say things that give me perspective, and let me think about things I need to even when I don’t want to. One thing I know for sure, is I will never be the same.

And that’s a good thing! 🙂

 

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Crockpot Lasagna

Things have been very busy at work lately. I’m starting to get in the swing of things since I signed my official employee contract. I thoroughly enjoy knowing what I’m doing when I’m there (I hate being the new girl) and I’ve been adjusting to having more friends.

Just the other day one of my coworkers was eating something…it smelled.so.good. I passed her along the way of walking into another office but I quickly came back to inquire about the tasty smell. “Dude, that smells SO GOOD! What IS that?!” She simply smiled and stated, “It’s leftover lasagna, I made it in the crockpot.” Uummm…genius! Recipenowthankyouverymuch!

The time was right before I normally go on my lunch hour so the thought crossed my mind to go home and make it right then and there, but I was missing something important: the lasagna noodles. Bummer.

So I patiently waited for the weekend to come along when I would purchase my precious noodles (with a coupon of course!) and whip up this delightful dish. My plan was to make it Monday so I could come home after work to the smell of Italian food wafting through the front door, but Monday was a rough day. I suffered 14, yes fourteen bug bites after watching fireworks for the holiday and in my sleep I scratched so much- I woke up in a panic several times throughout the night. Anyway I was tired, cranky, and barely made it home to eat a grilled cheese. There was no way I had the energy to do anything on Monday.

But then there was today. I got a better night sleep, and my ingredients were all set out or set up in the fridge. I was ready.

I have to remind myself sometimes its a little tricky to try new recipes when I only have an hour to get home, make the meal, and be back again to work in an hour, but this was so simple I had plenty of time to eat lunch too.

I would have done step by step pictures, but ain’t nobody got time fo dat! At least I didn’t in my haste.

Crockpot Lasagna adapted from here

1/2 spicy italian turkey sausage

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 minced garlic

1 jar Barilla roasted garlic sauce (I am going to add another 1/2 jar or so next time!)

1/2 cup water

1 15oz container part skim ricotta cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese (I’m glad I didn’t skimp on cheese, it was the perfect amount)

4 tablespoons parmesan cheese

1 egg

2 teaspoons dried parsley

9 uncooked lasagna noodles

Makes: About 6 servings

Step One: Brown the sausage and onion together until the onion is translucent and the meat is fully cooked through

Step Two: Meanwhile mix together the ricotta, egg, parsley, and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Step Three: To meat mixture, add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add garlic pasta sauce and water. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer for 5 minutes

Step Four: Place one cup of meat sauce in the bottom of a crockpot, top with 3 lasagna noodles, top with 1/3 of ricotta mixture (I had to break 2 of the noodles in thirds to fit them all in a layer), repeat twice, and cover the top with the rest of the sauce

Step Five: Cook on low 4 1/2 hours, top with the rest of the cheese and let sit 10 minutes (The directions on the original website said not to try putting it on high to cook faster. I didn’t have a need to anyway, but you’re warned!)

I served our lasagna with a green salad and garlic bread (Just cut up some french bread, slather butter and garlic salt and broil for like a minute or until it’s golden brown)

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This was before plating

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And dinner was served!

Overall I would say use more sauce than the original recipe calls for because I’m a saucy kind of gal (heh). Hubby said this was a grand slam kind of meal. :Blush: I can’t see where this one would get messed up anyway, lots of cheese! So yay, any crockpot recipes you love?

My Weekend

Well it’s Sunday again, I couldn’t resist taking a nap. I wasn’t sleeping very well last night so I was on my computer just hanging around and staying up way too late in bed. My nap was less than an hour, which is perfect. Any longer and I might as well say goodbye to feeling any sort of awake tomorrow. I love naps, so much so that 4 hours is not out of the question for duration of time. Naps are the best.

So how was your weekend? Ours was really busy but nice! I got off work on Friday and picked up Taylor early from work. Thankfully the lab (he’s a chemist!) wasn’t too busy. That’s one of things I love about his job, it’s much more flexible than a traditional one. He’s still a slave though, don’t get me wrong. He was telling me about his current project and I just smiled and nodded and try to pick out what I can understand because most of the time I can’t.

We went to the Ann Arbor Top of the Park. I had always heard about it but I’m not much of an Ann Arbor scene type of person, this was really great though. There was a live band playing in the middle of the huge courtyard by the bell tower, several vendors with delicious foods to choose from, and a LOT of people. There was also this thing called Tangled. It was an open area where all kinds of strings of ribbon were hanging in all different directions and people were trying get themselves untangled. See for yourself:

 

It looked like an absolute mess but the kids seemed to love it! I was not about to get in that thing, haha. I can barely find my way out of my house most days! Anyway, after looking over everything I decided it was a no brainer and I was going to get the Wisconsin mac and cheese from Noodles and Company. With broccoli. Gotta have broccoli. I’ve been to Noodles and Company many times, I LOVE the penne rosa- I’ve never eaten spicy Mediterranean so fast in all my life! I wolfed down my mac and cheese, it was perfectly cheesy and creamy. Just the way I like it!

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Our friends Andy and Emilie joined us. They’re due to have a baby in December. I am so happy for them!

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I was smart and brought buy spray and my off! buy shield. Mosquitos luuurve our California blood. Not one bite! YAY!

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This was our view. Not the best, but we didn’t really want to see the bands, we just wanted to hear them.

IMG_3997Here’s blurry picture of the bell tower. Andy was telling us it’s the heaviest bell tower in the country? world? Something like that. Naturally we were craving something sweet so we stopped at a new froyo place downtown

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His.

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And hers.

I always get the same thing: coffee or espresso yogurt topped with some type of candy (these were mini mm’s) and peanuts, whipped cream, and too many maraschino cherries. Delicious. I’m so thankful there were non tart flavors. The tart reminds me of greek yogurt- blech. But you know how I feel about that 🙂

Apparently in the time we sat down with our friends to eat our delicious desserts, the froyo shop closed. And didn’t tell us. And let us sit there talking like fools while they cleaned and closed up. And then they told us half an hour later that they were closed. And we were embarrassed. Haha, oh well!

As you know from my previous post, I woke up on Saturday with some ambition and lofty goals. I spent most of the morning thinking about it, which is a good thing. I picked up the Hubster from work at 3:30pm and he informs me: I’m hungry. Ay yi yi! I wish he had told me when I dropped him off so I could be prepared. But thanks to my list, I had been resourceful and good with my time. Everything was already in my kitchen to whip up his lunch.

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Tuna Melt + Unsalted Kettle Chips + Watermelon = One Happy Hulkster

He says I make the best tuna melts, I would have to agree.

 Later that evening we attended a BBQ appreciation dinner for all the volunteers in the kid’s ministry at church. The weather wasn’t awesome but the kids had a blast going on a slip n slide in the backyard. Did you ever do that when you were a kid? I was always too afraid…sad I know…but just like then, I loved watching the kids splash and play with friends. I was able to catch quite a photo of them before all the bathing suits came on.

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I LOVE silly photos!

Grace Kids Ministry Support Team

Here’s the Kid’s Ministry Support Team

Did you also see how much effort I put into taking care of myself? I really tried!

Earrings and a necklace, geeeeedouttaheeeere 🙂

After the BBQ, we decided it was the perfect night to go see a movie. We planned this out because we wanted to see a kids movie, without kids. I’m all about kids, love them- but I do not like to go to the movies with them. Or on airplanes. Or on long car trips. We set out at 8:45 pm to catch the 9 o’clock showing of

Taylor and I have always loved Pixar so our standards are pretty high when it comes to the next installment of what was the wonderful movie of Monster Inc. I don’t know man, I’m still deciding which one I loved more. Monsters Inc was touching, sweet, funny, a special place in my heart. Monsters University was FUNNY! Wow, I found myself doing my squeal laugh several times I was laughing that hard. Very well done movie, but I wouldn’t say it was a kids movie. Some parts were a bit scary, I think ages 10 and up would enjoy, maybe some mature 8 or 9 year olds too. But seriously, it was so so good!

Now I’m all rested up from my nap and ready to clean some more. It is one HOT day, the air is on and I’m thankful for that. I hope you had a good weekend too!

🙂

Take Care of Yourself…and Yourself

I have a problem.

It’s been a problem I’ve had my whole life.

Most people don’t know about it, and it’s a rarity they would even suspect.

In fact I’ve been accused of the opposite on many occasions.

Most days, I really don’t like myself.

There, I said it.

I could go into my childhood, I could go into my family dynamic, I could tell you aaaall about my personality and why I feel this way. But it is what it is, I have a really hard time liking me. It’s been a long journey, my 26 years on this Earth have been filled with wonderful people. People I love that make the world a better place, people I admire and cherish, ones that without their existence; I would know little about love and what it truly means. I don’t want to beat around the bush, I’m a real person and I don’t like feeling this way. I’m sick and tired of going to bed at night and thinking such horrible thoughts about myself.

“You know you didn’t do any cleaning today? Amanda your house looks like a tornado hit it.”

“When was the last time you went to the gym? Your butt tells me the whole story.”

“When’s the last time you washed your flipping hair?”

“You suck.”

It’s a hard burden to carry because on one hand I am a very happy person. I’m friendly, nice, and I’m a really hard worker. I enjoy listening to others, doing things for others, and letting other people be the center of attention. This is a good thing to do, this is the right thing to do, this is what I should do. But what is left out of the equation?

Me, Myself, and I.

It’s the 2nd day of Summer and I decided it’s time to change things. I’m going to start taking care of me, once and for all. No more lazy dazy Amanda, I’m a {She-Hulk} dang it! I can do it! So this is my list of 10 goals I want to accomplish this Summer. These things will help me take care of me. Don’t worry, I’ll still be giving to others, but I’m hoping this will also allow me to give back to the person that needs some attention, me.

1. Get dressed up: I have some really nice things that I’ve been putting off wearing because I felt fat or insecure. Not anymore. I’m going to try wearing my whole wardrobe this Summer. It’s Michigan so we’re bound to have a few cold snaps where I can wear a sweater or long sleeve shirt. Most of my clothes however accommodate the warmer months because I am after all, a California girl!

2.Wear makeup: This goes along the lines of the getting dressed up thing. Since my new job is super business casual, it’s a rarity indeed that I have a stitch of makeup on. I used to do my makeup in the car (at stop lights only I swear!) when I had other jobs but my commute now is less than 6 minutes with 1 light. Not much time to do it anyway.

3. Getting up earlier: I don’t know if you read the Early to Rise challenge over at Money Saving Mom, but I was so encouraged by it! It was an adjustment for me to go from a 10am to an 8am start at my work so I’m still working out the kinks and going to bed earlier so I can actually wake up at a decent time. I would like to have a 7am wake up call (hopefully I can get it earlier to 6am to hit the gym!) so I can shower, (I’ve been showering at night) do my hair and makeup, and eat breakfast at home. I’ve been chomping away at my desk lately and it doesn’t allow me to enjoy my food! I’m only thinking of how loud my chews are, lol. Do you chew loudly too? I’ll have to thank my dad for that gene!

4. Hair: This is a touchy subject. I always claim I don’t have time to do my hair, but I’m just being lazy. I have the potential for really pretty hair and I need to just freakin do it!  I’ve got very few styling products, that’s on my new list of things to look for since I’m a raging coupon lady. I’m not dumpster diving yet though 🙂

5. Take a break: This may seem like the opposite of what I need but what I mean by that is taking a break for me. I’m involved in church things, sports things, kids things, friends things, husband things, small group things, work things, so many things! We talked about it and the Hubster and I decided to take one week off from church a month. This is a time where we can reflect, read the Bible together, or visit another church. We absolutely love our church, but between the two of us; we volunteer for 9 different ministries. It can be a lot on our offering plates, lol. Ahem…

6. Clean: Ouch, another touchy subject. In the time I’ve taken to figure out why the heck I can’t get my poop in a group and clean my house, I wasted time I could actually be cleaning. So I’m just doing it. I’ve been working well with sprints, which is setting the timer and taking 30minutes to an hour to just clean. And it’s not a leisurely stroll, frequently I’m sweating by the time the buzzer goes off. After it’s over, I realize how much I just got done in so little time. It makes me very happy.

7. Read my Bible: How awesome is our Father in Heaven that He loves us so much that no matter how little we think of ourselves, He thinks the world of us? I know He will continue to work with me as I walk through this life. In the meantime, I’m going to try finding some daily devotionals that I can do on my own. What better way can I take some time and really focus on what is important?

8. Cook more: I’ve had some recent inspirations lately to bake, we’ll see where that goes. Most importantly, making healthy meals is what I value, and I’ve been slacking in the kitchen. We’ve had a lot going on lately and our twice a week restaurant meal has turned into 7-8 times a week, yikes. Too much food and calories, and not enough veggies. Asparagus, oh how I miss thee.

9. Kick my butt: The gym is such a simple and complicated place. I can either go there and accomplish my goal, or I can dwindle on how long it’s been since the last time I went and not go. Simple: I’m happy. Complicated: I’m a procrastinator. So my goal with this is 3x a week. I will probably go more, but starting slow is best. Volleyball season is over so I’m not as active as I once was, the gym is my option. It’s way too hot to run outside. Then again if I start getting up earlier, it may not be such an issue 🙂

10. {She-Hulk-Out} Oh boy, this is where I kick some butt and take some names. Well, it’s more along the lines of blogging more. My words get scrunched up in my head or interrupted by others, it leaves very little time to get them out. And I’ve always loved writing. Always. Hold me to it ok?

Alright, there are my goals. Just to prove to you that I’m working on it, here’s a pic of me today:

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Those jeans by the way? Totally from my 15 year old niece, lol! She’s lost some weight because she’s a hardcore basketball player, so I got them. They’re a little big on me and the zipper tends to unzip (sexy huh?) so they will probably only last the Summer but I think they’re really comfy. My shirt is from last Summer when Old Navy was having a super sale plus free shipping plus 25% off, so I think it was like 6 bucks or something. My bra does the criss cross in the back which matches the shirt. Overall, I’m happy about it! Such a myspace picture isn’t it?

We got up early this morning (for a Saturday) at 8:30am, I got dressed, primped, and I even cleaned the bathroom! I’m going to hold myself to these goals, the goals are for me so this will be a priority. Feel free to share your own goals too, or if you have suggestions I would love to hear them! Take care!

Greek Festival

We have a some friends that are really cool. What I mean by that is they always know what to do on the weekend to have fun. Whether it’s having a grilled cheeseburger and a bon fire at their house, rafting down the river, or playing trivia and then cosmic bowling, they know where it’s at. I was really excited because they invited us to the Greek Festival and we had such a good time!

I had never been to anything like it before!

There was Greek dancing

Greek Beer

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Friends (They were teaching how to do the Greek dancing… I was the only one that caught on, but we still had fun!)

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I always forget how tall T and I are…I guess we don’t notice very often!

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and Greek Food!

This picture does not do it justice, but it’s called Pastitsio. It’s a Greek lasagna type food and we scarfed it down! Wow! It was really cool eating something new because I tend to be a bit of a picky eater when it comes to new to me foods, but I was so hungry I didn’t get to turn my nose up. So glad I tried it! I want more- now! After the food, dancing, and shots, we took a tour of the church that hosted the festival next door.

After an HOUR of sitting and listening to the sermon/lecture, they actually let us look around and see the place. Such rich tradition and beautiful additions. It wasn’t a place to take pictures, but it was the first church I’ve been to with statues that don’t scare the crap out of me. To this day I can’t go into Catholic churches, sad I know. I am a Christian. But Christian religious statues are creepy to me. They explained the reasoning, it was really beautiful how they described them as tributes to important people, so maybe I need more explanation next time? Before you write me off as a terrible person, I swear I don’t think anything less of other religious sects of the church, I just had a really bad experience as a kid and I’d rather not relive that!

After the tour, it was time to head home and to bed. So glad to have friends that are so cool and fun, because we’re boring old married people you know? 🙂

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Bizzzy Beee

You know when you go on certain blogs and you notice someone hasn’t posted in a while? And you think to yourself, what the heck is this person doing?! I want my posts! RAWR! I guess I must be doing the same to you because everyone has been waiting so patiently for me, I appreciate it! 🙂 Well I can’t really explain exactly why I’ve been so busy, its a combination of things. One of these things started back in the Fall of last year and it was coaching! It kind of fell into my lap actually. I was talking to my friend at church one day and discovered she recently got a job as the head coach of a local varsity volleyball team. From there she invited me to be the assistant coach since I had previous experience playing (although I swore up and down I had NO idea what I was doing!) What a good friend she is because she was so encouraging! She said I would love it and I’d be a natural.

I had my doubts. In fact before we moved to Michigan I had sworn off volleyball completely. I didn’t want anything to do with it. I guess things were meant to be because there  I was coaching at a decent high school level and playing twice a week myself. It was such a fun season, the team got along so well which is quite to opposite of what I experienced in high school. I was so encouraged by it that the head coach convinced me to coach my very own team at a local volleyball club. I just finished out my 2nd season, this one was a doozy let me tell you. Younger players are so much more emotional and immature. But I love those girls. If you’re ever having a bad day, tell your team and they will make that change. I couldn’t help but be inspired by their inability to let losses and disappointments ruin the season. There were some days I wanted to quit because it was so hard to move forward, but we ended up with a metal winning tournament, and it was so great to see their faces when they beat really tough teams. We had a nice little banquet at the end of the season, and that was it!

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Winter season, yes that is one very sweet dog 🙂

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Spring season, best server and best sportsmanship- two very important keys to the game

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Miss Maddie, AKA Peacock.

I’m going to miss her the most. She reminds me of me and it’s slightly scary and helpful for her at the same time, haha. We shared a lot of laughs and I wish her the best as she moves on.

Sniff. Ok, coach face on again!

5 Year Anniversary

 

I can’t believe how things have changed, even in the last year. I really hope to blog more, we’ll see how that goes. In the meantime here’s the story of our anniversary trip!

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We woke up on Friday morning after another lovely evening of watching Star Trek, the original series from the 60’s. Live long and prosper 🙂 Anyway, I made  some cinnamon rolls and told The Hubster to eat a banana if he got hungry later. He had the day off so he dropped me off at work, sigh. I should have taken the day off too but I’m not an official employee yet.

Oh did I not mention I got a new job? Yeah, I’m really excited about it. I’m now an accountant which I’ve never been before. I like my job and I like the people, so far so good!

After he dropped me off it was really hard not to think about going away. This is the first time we’ve ever taken a trip, just the two of us without having to visit family since our honeymoon. I sat at my desk all morning looking at the clock over and over, and then telling myself if I look at the clock one more time I’m in trouble. And then I looked it one more time…

He picked me up and we stopped at steak and shake for lunch, pretty much the opposite of healthy but our Heath Shake was so so good.

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After lunch I was back to work watching the clock (trust me, I’m normally not like that because I really do love my job, but the trip! Oh the trip! was on my mind) and I could hardly breathe as I raced out to the parking lot and into the car so we could jet off. I had packed the night before but I wanted to say a quick goodbye to the kitties and make sure everything was in place.

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And then we were off!

The plan was to drive the Grand Haven, which is on the west side of Michigan. The day was gorgeous and we were plenty excited to leave town. Nowadays we’ve been talking more seriously about our future. Where we’re going to live once he finishes grad school, when to have kids, and car trips are just one of those things that allow us to open up more. I know most wives say nice things about their hubbies and they must be great, but I’ve got a good one. I really do.

This is the boardwalk in Grand Haven, I didn’t take a picture but this is what it looks like.

We checked into our hotel and decided to get pizza. We researched places to eat before we went and heard this place called Fricano’s was good. In fact it was voted best pizza here and best pizza there, and people were going on and on. I guess we’re just California pizza snobs because we weren’t that impressed. In fact, I found it greasy and I got heartburn after. The good thing about this place is that it’s old fashioned. They take cash or check only and the only thing on the menu is pizza. And pizza. And…pizza. Our waitress was such a sweetheart. I asked her to take a picture of us, she had no idea how to use my phone 🙂

That’s her finger, not bad for her first time! 🙂

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I tried to recreate a picture taken on our honeymoon, but Taylor didn’t have the same shirt. We were pretty close though! Take a look:

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Do we look any different?

We hung out, drove around the city a bit and stopped by the lake. There were campgrounds that we had our eye on for next time! It was so nice and relaxing. When we got back to our less than awesome hotel, Problem Child 2 was on. I remember watching that movie as a kid and boy is that movie NOT for kids! Hilarious though. We got up early the next day to visit Morning Star Cafe. We loved it so much we actually went back the next day!

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After a fun day of walking on the boardwalk and bowling ($5 special!) we headed out for a nice dinner at a Japanese steak restaurant. We thought Taylor’s plate of sushi was so pretty, it needed a picture. We love sushi! I got the shrimp pad thai- so good!

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This man has now been in my life for over a decade. I can’t imagine what life would be like without him. We had the most wonderful trip, and I can’t wait for the rest of our lives.

Now let’s get back to reality!

 

 


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