Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter 2016 Recap

I have always wanted to be that mom that decorates the house up for every holiday, etc etc. I fall short most days. I'm not sure there is time for that when you're in grad school! I was lucky to remember that it was Easter weekend. Friday I studied for round 2 of comps and by the end of the day I was totally fried. I face planted on a bench and laid in the sun doing absolutely nothing. Oh wait... that was on Saturday, see I couldn't even keep my days straight. I swear, Grad school is fun. Someone told me that if you're working on your PhD and you're married, you'll probably be divorced before you graduate. Sadly I think I could see that although I'm not anywhere near being divorced right now. But if a PhD program is worse than a masters (which it has to be) then wow!

Okay I'm done rambling. Easter I took a bit of a break. I got up Sunday morning and we went to Church. It was Easter. It was the day before Comps. It all sounded good!

When we left church, it was time to go to my parents house. Abug had fallen asleep on our way there so I got her in the house and laid down on the couch with her and took a short snooze until I passed her off to hubby. It's fun to have baby snuggles/snoozes.

We didn't get breakfast so it was nice to have an appetizer of Artichoke dip. Yum! And homemade garlic toast.

Mom made a ham, corn casserole, potato casserole, Frog eye salad, rolls with strawberry jam and pear honey, and a salad that my grandma brought that I know nothing about.

And I snuck a fast one in on my mom making a Cherry Dump Cake for dessert.

And that was Easter. When you're studying all around easter there isn't much to do. I really wanted to do an Easter egg hunt but darn it was cold. #parentfail Like I said I want to be that mom who has her sh*t together... but I am me... a college grad student who is trying to get by. SIGH!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday Brain Splat

My brain is all over the place. One such place... relief. At least last night's comps is over and it'll be a week before I hear results on either set, so that means a week of freedom, right? Please tell me I'm right. The stress the last few weeks kind of got to me. Ugh! I was talking to one of the professors last Thursday and said that grad school is more stressful than any job I've had and I've had some stressful jobs. She laughed and said, yeah, in grad school, you have a deadline and have to work on something until it is finished, where as long as your job is one of those you can walk away from at the end of the day, you're done until the next work day.

I think grad school is taking a toll on me... I look old. That's my opinion, but whatever.... Oh and gray hairs... they're multiplying, I swear. Seriously? I'm only 32 (I think.... don't ask me my age, ask me my birthday, I'm better at that number). And a tan, I'd like a tan... although I don't want wrinkly skin, I have enough of that... so there is that.... anyway like I said, my brain is all over the place right now.

Today I feel like it is Thursday (don't ask why, I don't know) and yesterday I swore it was Tuesday (that's because I sat at the school all day on a Monday which isn't typical). So let's see if I can impart some wisdom on you today... Here we go... if you have something that is bolded, italicized, or underlined and it is followed by punctuation, that punctuation carries the same bold, italics or underline. Although underlining words is a thing of the typewriter age when people couldn't bold or italicize words for whatever the word is I'm looking for.... um.... emphasis I guess might be it.

Today in my Writing the Memoir class we're discussing my 3rd essay. I'm a bit nervous. I hate days like this. I mean people aren't supposed to judge, but still... you really do put yourself out there writing these. Dr. Morris always says that more than likely we won't publish them so the only people who read are those of us in class and whoever we might share it with. The start of my third paper was a fight hubby and I had years ago. I can't tell you the fight, I just remember the hurtful words I said. They were bad. And I tried to get them out of it, but I couldn't figure out how to be able to jump back in time to the real meat of the story.... oh well... I guess people will know I cuss if they didn't know that before. It's a really bad habit that I try to give up and just as I do better, something happens and word vomit galore. Although I'm getting better about that too.

So when I got to the school today, let's back up to yesterday first... I've been on the search for a new swimsuit. I don't know why, I just have been. So I put some in hubby's cart so he could see them and tell me if he thought they'd look ok on me or not. So this morning when I got to the school he asked if I deleted some of them, maybe all I don't really know. I told him I didn't. But the funny thing is, sometimes we'll go to the store and I'll think about getting something. He'll put it in the cart and when he's not looking I put it back on the shelf. I am bad about that. But really today I didn't do that.

And why I'm having this coming clean session instead of doing an Easter recap today is beyond me. I think that is just how stressed out I have been from comps. Sadly I don't think the stress is over just yet... I'm hoping it is... but I just don't think it is.... not yet anyway.

By the way, does anyone know anything about Mining in Southeast Kansas they could impart some wisdom about?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Peanut Post - A 21 Month Update

  • Oh kid, you light up my life and rock my world. You are so much fun
  • You are learning new things every day, and mommy needs to watch what she says... example oh crap. ha!
  • You love fruit and ice cream and really most food.
  • You eat about every other day really well and nit pick the off day.
  • When you want a drink it is Teat Tea (aka sweet tea) no matter what you are drinking.
  • I think we must visit Sonic too much because the minute we pull in to one you start in on the teat tea.
  • You love to ride. sometimes you'll call them hor (horse) and other times it's ride, ride, ride, ride.
  • You will drag anyone you can to the barn to ride and know exactly where oha (Aloha's) stall is.
  • If you're at Jared and Karen's you're pretty good at talking them into riding too.
  • You're not spoiled or anything :).
  • Shoes, you're outgrowing your size 6's but you can still just barely fit into them.
  • clothes, you're 18 months +.
  • diapers, size 5, but you're initiating the move to potty training very quickly. I know I've said that before but you're the one initiating this.
  • I still won't cut your hair. 
  • You love the outdoors.
  • You could be a Walmart greeter the way you tell everyone hi. 
  • You can't spell but you know how to use my phone and sent grandma a text message the other day.
  • You love your sissy (tissy)
  • I'm pretty sure you know all the major body parts now.
  • You love your pack pack and purses.
  • You tried carrying your diaper bag and it about pulled you over backwards.
  • Music... you love music.
  • Your favorite tv shows if you pay attention to anything are Paw Patrol and Mickey Mouse Club House.
  • You can make a gloomy day bright
  • When you don't get your way you throw yourself on the floor for attention.
  • If someone says ow you ask, Okay? and will continue to ask until they respond they are okay.
  • If you fall, you'll stand up as long as you aren't hurt and yell I Okay. If you're hurt, then you cry.
  • You give the best kisses and hugs.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Take Two

Holy Cow! I just walked in from outside and it's freezing cold out there. Okay maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration because I just looked at and it said that it is 40, but that doesn't factor in that wind and that's what is excessively cold this morning. Okay, so it's 40˚ this morning, yet yesterday it was 70˚. Yes we had the wind but the weather was gorgeous. I was walking around in a t-shirt and comfortable. Today I have on a long sleeved t-shirt and my jacket and I'm still frickin cold! brrrr! I guess only in MO can (or maybe I should say the midwest?) you go from 70˚ one day to a freeze warning and a high of 50˚ the next and 60˚ or so the following. Yes Mother nature we get it, you're still in control!

Speaking of yesterday, by last night I was spent. Today marks my second attempt at Comps (plus I have to take a different set on Monday night.... ugh!) I've been studying hard, maybe not hard enough, we'll see, but I have been studying hard and last night I was just spent. I wanted to do something... anything. I didn't know what though. We finally went and wandered around Target because I just needed to walk I guess. We wound up down the hair coloring aisle and I decided to dye my hair pink, what do you think?

Oh wait, that's right... I only threatened... I didn't do it :). haha... sike! or not but whatever, it's my blog post today :). I also seriously debated dying my hair bright blonde. I have no idea why and I didn't do it, but I did threaten.

I drove the truck today. Why you might ask? Well... because I feel like a badass driving a truck. Seriously. I've always been a truck girl. In fact, my first vehicle was a truck.

It was a little truck but it was a truck no less. Boy the day we saw this at the dealership we were in my dad's 1998 F150 that I kept trying to talk him in to letting me have but he wouldn't budge. That was back when with the extended cab you had the jump door. And it just had the 1, not both so to get to the drivers side back seat you had to go through the passenger side jump door. Anyway we were driving through the Ford dealership in Springfield the day after my birthday and we saw this little gem. I about jumped over the top of my mom and her seat trying to get out of dad's truck to get out and see this truck. Then, I really thought we were going to lose out on buying it over $50. My mom could see me squirming in my seat and she knew I was ready to volunteer to pay the $50. Finally the dealership agreed with my dad and bam, the truck was mine. I've never kept such a poker face in all my life. So stressful as a 16 year old.

No, I don't drive a truck right now, unless I'm driving someone else's truck. I have my car. I like my car but it isn't a truck. Oh the pretty purr of a diesel engine or the nice hum of flowmaster's. Pure pleasure :). haha. Although have you heard the new diesel's now? They are almost as quiet as a gas engine and unless you're paying attention you might miss them. Sad but true statement.

Earlier this week I was joking with hubby that since I had to take comps tonight, can I drive his truck for inspiration. He said, "OK." I laughed and told him I was joking because I was... mostly. Then I guess when I got in the shower last night, he moved vehicles around and when I went to leave this morning he left me with the truck.

I got a sweet text from my dad too. Everyone believes in me, I just hope I don't let them down. That's my worst fear! Letting people down. Adds a little stress. But I got in the truck this morning and started driving down the road. I don't know, I think Joe Diffy was on to something when he said, "There's something women like about a pickup man." Although, I'm not a man... so maybe that doesn't totally count in this instance, but it's close enough!

Okay so speaking of the truck. Oh I shouldn't tell this on myself but I can't help it... It is too funny. Yesterday we were driving it and a bird flew past us. Neither of us saw the bird go anywhere else so hubby wondered if it got stuck in the grill. Hey weirder things have happened. So when we stopped, I got out and went up to the front to look. No bird and there was no grill guard. I about freaked out wondering where and when we dropped the grill guard and how did we not know that. Then I had a moment of clarity and realized that oh... it isn't our truck that has the grill guard, it's my dad's truck. Duh duh duh.

Comps has me where I'm just frazzled. I'm ready for some mental clarity! The night before we had been working on Jared and Karen's camper. When we were done I went to my parents and picked up the bug and then went home. At home I hopped in the shower. We have a speaker in our shower that hooks up to your phone via bluetooth. Hubby had his phone hooked up with a song for me to hear. So when I got out of the shower I went to turn the speaker off and instead hit the call button. Well that either answers a call if the phone is ringing while you're in a shower or calls the last person you talked to. The last person hubby called was Jared so I tried to call Jared from the shower. I about died laughing.

That is how life has been for me lately... and this weekend is Easter, but I won't get to enjoy that much because I'll be studying for my next round of comps on Monday night. Who decided Easter weekend would be a good weekend to put comps after. Geez.... anyway wish me luck please! And if all else fails, know that I feel like a badass driving a pick-up truck!

Over and out!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Finally, the story

Let's see if I can diplomatically tell this post, finally about a month later.

As most of you know, we're a family of 4. Back in 2011 though, we were just a family of 3. In January of 2011 we traded my Mustang off for a 2011 Hyundai Elantra and Hubby's 3/4 Ford for a 2011 Hyundai Tucson. That was done within one week of each other and the truck was traded off just days before the 18 inches of snow that snowed us into our house.

That summer we discussed how practical the Tucson was because even though it got great gas mileage, we needed a truck more than we realized. Every time we needed a truck, we had to borrow my dad's which put him out of a truck. It was annoying for everyone involved.

So later that summer we went on a hunt for a truck again. It came down to the question do we need 4x4 or 4 doors more because for the price and what we could afford, both wasn't quite an option for us.

We decided since we were a family of 3, we'd go the 2 door but 4x4 route and wound up with a 2011 Chevy 1500 (half ton). It was a great truck and did most everything we wanted, except haul a horse trailer. But when we had to steal dad's truck to haul a trailer, at least he wasn't out a truck so it worked.

Well in 2014 our little bundle of joy came along making us a family of 4. May of 2015 my dad wound up buying a half ton 4x4, 4 door truck that we wound. This last winter wasn't bad and neither was the winter of 2013, but still, with 4 people and a 4x4 truck that seats 3, it just doesn't add up. In bad weather my car doesn't do well and his truck wouldn't haul all 4 of us. This last winter we started borrowing dad's half ton and leaving him ours so he had 2 different 4x4's to drive as an option.

But it was decided that we needed a new truck. One that had 4x4 but one that had 4 doors and seated either 5 or 6 depending on if the front was a bench seat or captains chairs. So we went on the hunt.

Can you guess where this story goes?

After a couple months of debating the size and whatever hubby had guidelines of what we could afford.

One afternoon he and my dad were cruising the internet and found one in Kansas City. It was a 2009 (or was it a 2011? I can't remember we talked so many trucks. oy!) Ford King Ranch F150. Very pretty. It was late on a Saturday so they had closed for the day, so first thing Monday morning hubby called up there and asked them if they still had the truck. They said yes. So he took a half day of vacation, swung by the house and picked Abug and me up to head to KC to look at this truck.

When we got up there, Abug and I stayed in the truck and hubby went to find the guy he spoke with. Then hubby came back to the truck and said, you're not going to guess this. I said what. Turns out they sold that truck on Saturday. So they had a little older F150 Platinum edition that they wanted us to look at. Hubby agreed. So therefore I agreed, grudgingly because we called specifically to save ourself a 300 mile trip.

Anyway we went in to talk to them after we test drove it and they insulted us. They knew what we owed on our truck still and they offered us $200 less for trade in on our truck than what we owed on it. I was pissed and walked out. Especially because we'd been offered more through no site auto trader plus $200 less, really? You couldn't have at least paid off what we owed... So we left. The salesman wanted to introduce us to the sales manager who insulted us and we walked out with our keys to our truck. We felt defeated.

That meant the search was still on.

Later in the week hubby found another truck in Aurora at the Ford dealer there. We went and test drove it, really liked it and tried to talk money. Because of the mileage, we couldn't get qualified for a truck loan on it. The guys there were super nice and offered us more for our truck than what we owed by a few hundred dollars and it was just a good experience, but sadly we weren't able to deal with them because of the mileage on the truck. They told us we had to start looking at vehicles with less than 100K.

Hubby and I were so disappointed and a little down on our luck to say the least. I kept telling him that it wasn't meant to be and when the right thing came along, we'd know it. That was very hard, but that's what we had to keep telling ourselves.

So the weekend that I went to Oklahoma to see my aunt, hubby found another truck. He and my dad made plans to go to Bentonville, AR, Showcase Cars and Trucks to look at a truck they had on their lot. I told hubby I trusted his judgement so do what he knew was right and if it wasn't, come home because at least we still had a truck.

Well hubby said they were excellent to work with, we were able to get approved, they gave us the right money for our truck and bam, we had a deal.

We wound up with a 2014 Ford F150. It had been one owner, owned by a corporation as a fleet vehicle. So the mileage was about 10,000 more than what was on our current truck but it is an F150, 4 door, and 4x4. All the things we needed. So I would like to thank all the businesses that were willing to work with us, including the dealerships that were willing to work with us but we couldn't find what we were looking for. Thank you!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Waterfront Grill - Jenks OK

This weekend we took a group trip to Jenks, OK, outside of Tulsa to go to the Oklahoma Aquarium. We left right after church, so by the time we got to Tulsa it was noon and we were a hungry bunch. Our vehicle was the lead vehicle so they left it up to us to find the restaurant. Kimmy got on her cell phone and started researching restaurants in the area and that's when we came upon Waterfront Grill.

I'm oh so glad she found this restaurant too, as was everyone else. Totall awesome!

When we got there and told them it was 8 plus a high chair, they said it would be about a 30-45 minute wait. Then not even 5 minutes later they asked if we had a problem sitting outside. We told them no because the weather was great plus they had their heaters running. So we were seated within 5 minutes. And this was our view for the meal.

Hubby, Rachele, and Doug decided they were going to order sushi. We got one and they got the other. I say we, I asked them to save me a piece of each because even though I'm not crazy about it, I'm willing to try. You never know, someday I may just like sushi/fish....

They got the Bonzai Roll. Spicy tuna, avocado, cucumber, & jalapeño topped with fresh eel and eel sauce. Served on a skillet that is on fire. (side note, wow I didn't know I was eating eel.... yikes!)

We got the Riverwalk Roll. Tempura asparagus, avocado, spicy crab, & tempora shrimp topped with eel, salmon, ahi tuna, eel sauce & Sriracha

I have to say theirs was better, but I still wasn't crazy about it.

So I got the Smoked Turkey Ciabatta. Warm shaved turkey, Havarti cheese, chipotle Mayo, roasted red bell peppers, arugula, & bacon. It was supposed to come with fries but I subbed in Cheddar, Bacon, Jalapeño mashed potatoes. So first off, the sandwich... totally awesome. I'd definitely get it again no question asked. The Mashed potatoes, definitely worth the swap, although I wish I'd have gotten Abug some fries. Long story.

So the kids menu was comprised of breakfast type food... it was brunch style food. So we got Abug waffles since that's close to pancakes and she loves pancakes. She ate them okay. I didn't try any but Tbug said they were oka.

Tbug went with the Catfish fillets. She said they were really good. She liked the fries too, but didn't care for the coleslaw. Again, long story.

Hubby got the Baja Burger. I can't find the description of it, but let me tell you, the description is YUM! So he subbed fries for the Mashed potatoes too. Again, darn, too bad we didn't get fries for Abug.

This was definitely worth the wait! I'm so glad Kimmy found this place!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pancake Feed

A lot of our friends are on the local search and rescue team. It is volunteer so they have different fundraisers to raise money for expenses. This is a once a year fundraiser of Pancakes. Who doesn't love pancakes, I mean, come on! There's also biscuits and gravy as well as sausage links, orange juice, coffee, and water.

Abug got to spend time with Tbug and CL1, CL2, and CL3. CL3 kept dragging Abug around. It was cute. He'd grab her by the wrist and drag her along. We finally convinced him to hold her hand. They had so much fun.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Lasagna Soup

So a couple weeks ago I stumbled across a whole bunch of recipes. One of them happened to be Lasagna soup. I thought, hmmmm I like lasagna, I wonder if this is any good. So that's what we did... I made lasagna soup and let me tell you, this is friggin awesome and totally worth it! Now it makes a lot of soup so we split the leftovers up in ziplock bags, placed it in the freezer and I'll tell you this tastes just as good warmed up another night as it does the night I made it. It was so nice that night we pulled it out to already have dinner made when we weren't sure what we were going to have. So definitely make it all and freeze the leftovers!

Lasagna soup adapted from here
1 lb ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced
16 oz Portobello Mushrooms
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 jar spaghetti sauce
8-10 cups chicken broth, divided
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
10 uncooked lasagna noodles, broken into 1-2 inch pieces
shredded mozzarella cheese
finely grated Parmesan cheese
ricotta cheese

1. Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add beef, onion and mushrooms, stirring occasionally until beef is browned and onions and mushrooms are cooked. Add garlic and Cayenne pepper, sauté for 30 seconds. Drain off any excess fat.
2. Add tomato paste and stir around for 30 seconds to a minute to "wake up" the tomato paste. Next add the spaghetti sauce, 6 cups of the chicken broth, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sugar, spices, and the lasagna noodles. Bring the mixture up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until noodles are nice and tender, stirring occasionally, about 20-30 minutes.
3. Add 2-4 cups of the remaining chicken broth to reach desired consistency.
4. Garnish with the desired amounts of cheeses.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Philly Cheesesteak Casserole

Every once in a while I stumble on to something good. Exhibit A)

Philly Cheesesteak Casserole adapted from here

1lb (16 oz) pkg pasta such as Penne or Bowtie.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
1 half bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
2 (10.75 oz) cans cream of "something" soup (Chicken, Mushroom, Celery....)
1 (10.75oz) can milk
8 oz Mushrooms, sautéed
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup dried bread crumbs
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Preheat your oven to 375˚F. Lightly grease a 9x13 in baking dish.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, cook until al dente. Reserve a mug of the pasta water for the sauce. Set aside.
3. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms until they begin to soften. Add ground beef, and cook, stirring until evenly browned. Drain off grease then add in with the pasta. Stir in the condensed soup, then measure the milk using the soup can. Add thyme until blended. Mix in 3 cups of the cheese, and season with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta water to thin. Spread in Baking dish.
4. In a bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and melted butter. Mix in the remaining 1 cup cheese. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the top of the baking dish.
5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.
6. Dish up and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Weekend that Was

This weekend was a whirlwind of a weekend! Saturday morning we woke up bright and early... no joke!... and headed to my aunts house. AC had the weekend off and wanted to see Abug and it worked with our schedule also so away we went.

Mom originally thought we'd stop in OKC for lunch but we got there at 11am and we thought, AC's is just about an hour or so past OKC, let's just head on. So I sent AC a message and asked her if she'd like to meet us for lunch. She said she and UB would meet us at Interurban. They said we were going somewhere else for dinner so we didn't want to eat a big lunch.

My suggestion was make sure Abug could find something to eat, she's not crazy about salad :)... (Salad was the suggestion for us for lunch). So she got Mac and Cheese. It was pretty good. The cookie was good too.

The rest of us got salads. I got a Chicken Club Salad with Ranch Dressing. Yum! Chicken, cheese, bacon, lettuce, Ranch dressing, what more could you ask for?

Then we headed on to shop because AC said Abug needed a trip present. Hubby asked how we were doing and this is the picture I sent him.

Then we headed on to AC's house. UB left AC with us at lunch because he was working on burning brush piles. This was the first day they weren't on a burn ban so they took advantage.

Abug was tired of sitting since she was stuck sitting 5ish hours to AC and UB's so once we were at their house we went walking. We walked up to the barn and checked out the horses and the kitty's and more horses and the barns, and whatever we could find ourselves getting in to. Finally we walked back to the house and AC was on the gator getting ready to go find us. She asked if we wanted to go for a ride so we hopped on and away we went. We got a good distance from the house and I thought I heard something but wasn't sure. Then Abug dropped her sunglasses, so we stopped to pick them up and heard it... Flat tire or should I say deflating tire. Ugh! So we high tailed it back to the house. By this time UB and Trevor (guy that works for them) got back from town and UB aired up the tire. Then told us to go drive around and move the green goo stuff in the tire. So then we decided to go back on our trail and try to find the baby calves. UB and Trevor jumped on the Viking which AC said ran faster than the gator so we went through a different field to try and beat them. We finally caught up to them and we heard the air gushing again... flat tire. So we high tailed it back to the house and then UB took us around on the Viking. That's when we saw the beautiful sunset! I love Oklahoma Sunsets!

Later that night we decided to just stay home and eat pizza.

Sunday morning we woke up and AC made this AWESOME breakfast enchilada casserole!

Then later that morning we headed home. We got to Tulsa around just after lunch time and mom suggested Cheesecake Factory. So that's where we headed.

and this bread.... oh this bread!

Mom got the Chinese Salad. Abug ate all her mandarine oranges.

I went with the Bellagio Chicken. Yum! This is friggin awesome!

Then we had cheesecake because we were at the Cheesecake Factory. I got Red Velvet and mom got Mango something or other. Abug choose mom's over mine!

Then we ran by the Disney store for Abug before heading on home to see Grandpa and daddy!


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