Friday, May 27, 2011

Baby Shower Mad Lib

Last night's baby shower was lovely. We had a ton of fun eating (I was introduced to Papa Murphy's Pizza.), gabbing, and sniffing chocolate in diapers (Somehow that game never gets old...). I mentioned that I wrote a baby shower mad lib specific for our occasion (after a quick web search wasn't much help). However, after I read it, I realized that it might work for others. I removed the names to protect the innocent, but feel free to grab, personalize, and use for your own shower.


(If you aren't familiar with Mad Libs - before the shower, copy and paste the information below into Word (or similar program) and personalize the items in < > with information specific to your mom-to-be. Give each attendee a list of the 19 words highlighted below with a blank beside it, and ask them to fill in the blank with any word (that fits the criteria - noun, adjective, etc.) that they can think of. (Don't let them see the story!) After everyone is done, collect the lists and have one person read the stories, as "written" by their friends/family. Or - print out copies of the story, and pass them out AFTER the lists are complete, and ask each person to read their own story.) 

New Baby <Insert Family Last Name> Mad Lib

<Insert Mom's name> and <Insert Dad's name> are a (1- adjective) couple. When they first met, <Insert Mom's name> thought <Insert Dad's name> would make a (2 - adjective) husband and a (3 - adjective) dad. <Insert Dad's name> proposed, and they had a (4 - adjective) wedding. After tying the knot, they decided to start a (5 - adjective) family. Now, they are (6 - adverb) awaiting the birth of their new baby, named <Insert baby's name or family's last name>.

To prepare for his/her arrival, <Insert Mom's name> and <Insert Dad's name> painted the nursery (7 - color), and they decorated it with (8 - animal)(s) and (9 - plural noun). <Insert Mom's name> sewed (10 - number) (11 - plural noun), and she packed her bags for the hospital, including a (12 - noun) and (13 - plural noun). She told big sister <Insert old sister/brother's name> about baby <Insert baby's name or family's last name>, and <Insert old sister/brother's name> offered to teach him/her how to (14 - verb). She also said she would give him/her her <his, if older brother> favorite toy (15 - noun).

If I had to guess, baby <Insert baby's name or family's last name> will arrive after (16 - number) hours of labor. <Insert Mom's name> will be very (17 - adjective) after delivery, but thankful for a healthy baby. He/she will have a (18 - adjective) little (19 - body part), just like his/her mom.

 New Baby <Insert Family Last Name> Mad Lib

 1. Adjective _____________________________
2. Adjective _____________________________
3. Adjective _____________________________
4. Adjective _____________________________
5. Adjective _____________________________
6. Adverb ______________________________
7. Color ________________________________
8. Animal _______________________________
9. Plural Noun ___________________________
10.Number _____________________________
11.Plural Noun ___________________________
12.Noun _______________________________

13.Plural Noun ___________________________
14.Verb ________________________________
15.Noun ________________________________
16.Number ______________________________
17.Adjective _____________________________
18.Adjective _____________________________
19.Body part _____________________________

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We're so all-American.

The other day the hubs walked out the front door driving a Coke in the bottle (courtesy of the World of Coke in Atlanta), and I starting singing, "I'd like to buy the world a Coke..."

 Last Friday, we ventured to a Charleston Riverdogs game with some friends. This is my husband's (disgusting) choice in hotdogs - complete with chili, bacon, and jalepenos.

We set behind home plate and cheered them on to victory (although I don't remember the score). I do remember that the young(ish) guys sitting directly in front of us would stand up and do this bizarre dance that involved leaning back slightly and waving your arms at your side, kind of like a fish. I eventually asked them, and they told me they were "doing the Bernie," as in Weekend at Bernie's. I totally learned a new dance.

Me and the ever-lovely Elizabeth (and my birthday purse).

After the game, they played a medley of "classic American songs" during a fireworks display. It felt like summer. Also, during the finale series of fireworks, it appeared that some fireworks blew up on the ground, and suddenly the words "Big on the Pig" were spelled out in fire. Yeah, we're classy.

Yesterday, Britney Spears' latest (very catchy) song - the one about dancing til the world ends - came on the radio as I pulled into my neighborhood. I drove around to listen to the song (I hope I'm not the only one who does this.), and I saw this guy. He's probably 8 feet long head to tail. We have signs at all of ponds that say, "Beware of the alligators," because our neighborhood was built on wetlands.  But, usually they stay hidden. I guess he was out for some sun. (Sorry for the blurry picture. I decided not to go over and introduce myself. )

The hubs sent me flowers today. Aren't they lovely? This picture gives you a close-up view of my home work environment - two screens (one work laptop, one Mac for Pandora and Hulu so I don't slow my work computer down), empty plate from lunch, water glass, bills in background - the gang's all here.

Tomorrow, I'm hosting the baby shower at I mentioned in my previous post. I wrote a baby Mad Lib. Everyone who's coming should prepare to laugh.

And one more thing, as of Saturday, we'll be in the market for a new-to-us AKA used car. I'm drawn to Accords, Highlanders, 4Runners, Pilots, and Subarus (is that weird?). We've saved our pennies, but we definitely can't afford a new one of the above - more like an 06-08. Any suggestions on cars? Opinions on the ones I mentioned?

Monday, May 23, 2011


Today was one of those days.

I had a carefully constructed list of things that had to happen. Nothing huge, just little things that needed to get done.

And over the course of the day, that list fell apart.

Instead of taking the high road, I defaulted to my normal response - grumpiness.

But, on my way home tonight, I looked over to my passenger seat, and I had to laugh.

I was sharing my car with a diaper cake - complete with an elephant constructed entirely of receiving blankets attached on top with ribbon (made by my extremely talented friends in anticipation of a baby shower I'm hosting soon).

Seriously, I laughed out loud. In the scheme of things, I was freaking out about ridiculous things. Things that could be done tomorrow without cause for concern.

Perspective, courtesy of the diaper cake in my passenger seat.

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Week in Review: Parks and Rec withdrawal plus a favorite recipe

This week gone by too quickly. Between work for me and work plus homework for my hubs, we literally (Parks and Rec, anyone?) flew through this week. I've hardly stopped to think. I did fit in exercise each day, including two trips to the gym. Going to the gym sounds like torture, especially when I'm driving there, but I feel fantastic once I'm done. (My gym has ellipticals and treadmills with individual TVs, so if I'm not careful, I catch myself literally laughing out loud at a Friends re-run. I'm sure I look ridiculous, but I'm not staring at the minutes on the elliptical, so I'll take it.)

Also, Kelly's Korner is hosting a main dish recipe link-up. Before I start stealing everyone else's ideas, I had to jump in the fray with one of our favorites. Healthy-as-you-want-it-to-be dinner in 30 minutes - yes, please. (My husband likes to add sour cream in addition to the cheese.)

White Chicken Chili
1 lb ground chicken (or ground chicken breast or ground turkey)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
3 cups Progresso® reduced-sodium chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
2 medium zucchini, chopped (about 3 cups)
2 cans (15 oz each) Progresso® cannellini beans or 2 cans (15 to 16 oz each) great northern beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese

1. In 4- or 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, cook ground chicken, onion and garlic over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly, until chicken is no longer pink.
2. Stir in all remaining ingredients, except cheese. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender.
3. Remove from heat; stir in cheese until melted.

(Go here to see where I snagged this recipe from and to get a printer-friendly version. I finally broke down, and handwrote it on a recipe card. I thought it deserved it.)

Now, continuing on to my week in review.

We have some dear friends that are relocating to another Navy base next month. We hit it off with them almost instantaneously, and we, along with another excellent couple (who thankfully, are NOT relocating next month), hang out regularly. (The coolest part is that we all live in the same neighborhood.) With their time here winding down, we snuck in a random weeknight dinner on Tuesday. Then the ladies went to Target and Starbucks, while the guys played videogames. The hubs and I get pretty predictable in our weeknight routines, so it was fun to do something out of the ordinary.

I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but I'm bummed that most of my favorite shows have come to a close for the season. Last night, the hubs and I watched the season finales of The Office and Parks and Recreation. Parks and Rec is probably my current favorite show, and it's always so defeating to watch the cliffhangers unfold and know that you can't find out how they resolve until the fall.

Lesson Learned:
The day always ends better when you take the dog for a week. (It's even better if you bring the husband - or a friend - along.) I was encouraged and challenged daily by the pure excitement on my dog's face each time I pulled out the leash. It doesn't matter what he's doing, he'll drop it (ok, he's usually sleeping or looking out the window, but somebody has to do those things during the day), wagging his tail as we set out to walk the streets we've covered a million times before. I think I could learn something from him.

Linking up with My Week in Review:

Filled With Praise

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Advice Wanted: The Great Movie Debate

I'm jealous of couples that share the same taste in movies. Because, we certainly don't. He loves superhero flicks, sci-fi, even the occasional horror flick. I like chick flicks and other movies tied neatly with bows. He's in it for the adventure. I'm in it for the happy ending.

Generally speaking, the comedy is a good compromise, but it's typically just that - a compromise. In other words, we end up seeing a bunch of movies neither of us is truely interested in lieu of seeing the movies that we want to see, but don't agree on. (Plus, if I'm honest, we both I have a bad habit of "keeping score." i.e. One guy movie "earns" one movie I want to see.)

I admit all of this to say: Have any of you cracked the great movie debate? Have you found a solution that keeps you both happy - and up-to-date on the movies you each want to see? Help me out here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Recent life in summary

First off, apologies for being MIA the past week. When not storming, it's been really, really nice outside; combine that with work being a bear lately and sitting in front of a computer screen more than required hasn't been high on my list of priorities. So, a summary instead.

1) Compassion
I about did backflips returning from the mailbox on Friday. I received my first letter from Manthan in India, my sponsored child (as of February). My husband also sponsors a child, a little girl named Arianna from Ecuador, so I'm very familar with the letters, but I'm very excited to form a relationship with this sweet little 8-year-old boy. I did have a question for those of you who sponsor a younger child. Do you receive letters on the behalf of your child? The letter I received was written on Manthan's behalf (not translated - actually written by someone else). I didn't know if this was a first time thing or commonplace for a younger child.

2) Forever flowers
I ordered these felt lovelies from handmadecolectibles on Etsy. I'd been admiring them for a while, and a Mother's Day coupon code made me splurge. They sit on the counter near our kitchen sink, and I love to look at them.

3) New summer dress
I purchased from J.Crew on super sale plus free shipping. That maxes out my husband's willingness to spend on my summer wardrobe, so let's hope it's a keeper. It's a cotton weave that doesn't require ironing, which it a requirement in my book.

4) Bird watching and blueberries
A little bird is building a next in the wreath on our front door. The husband suggested we remove it before any babies are birthed there, but I refused. I'm too excited. We also planted two small blueberry bushes in our side yard. It's looking like we'll have a crop of about 20-30 blueberries this year. Hopefully, next year, our bushes will yield a whole pie's worth!

5) Birthday boy man
Last, but certainly not least, my sweet husband celebrated the big 2-8 yesterday. We ventured downtown to eat some southern home cooking at a locally known restaurant, Poogan's Porth. We grabbed dessert after, and we were still home by 8. Lame. So, my husband used his birthday as an opportunity to make me watch a guy movie (again). Enter "The Hunt for Red October." A young Alec Baldwin kept me silently cracking up (The movie was made in 1990.), but it was actually quite good. The majority of the action was set on submarines, so it was close to my husband's heart.

I love you, babe (even though you rarely, if ever read this)! Isn't he a hottie?? (Although I totally forgive you if you try to claim your husband is the hottest. I just won't agree.)

(From our 2009 honeymoon in Asheville)

Enough miscellany for today.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Everything Day

In the recent months, we've celebrated (or anticipate celebrating) my dad's running streak anniversary, my birthday, my sister's birthday, mother's day, the hub's birthday, and the hub's upcoming graduation. After realizing that life was getting in the way (and that celebrations are especially fun when shared), we coined this Mother's Day as Happy Everything Day.

The day consisted of dessert eating (Mom insisted on making a special dessert for each of the "celebrants," resulting in a lemon pie, a dirt cake, a chocolate pound cake, and red velvet cupcakes. The deliciousness and calories were infinite. I'm eating a cupcake now.)
We did some gift exchanging. B and I gave Dad a t-shirt says "Ask me about my streaking habit. I designed it myself (but sadly, I don't see graphic designer in my future). I'm in love with the pillow that my mom and aunt picked out for me. My sister scored some jewelry, and we replaced my mom's faithful Mary Jane crocs. (I'm not a fan of regular crocs, but I would prefer not to live without my croc Mary Janes.) And the husband is pretty pumped about his new Keurig (so am I!). (Those are sailing gloves he's modeling.)

I caught this picture of Kona actually looking in the direction of the camera. He always loves when the party is outside, and he can chill just slightly outside of the action.

This is the whole family. Decent family photos are something to be cherished, even if they involved minor threats and bribery.

I highly recommend Happy Everything Day.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Post-Mother's Day Miscellany Monday

Hello Monday! The husband's graduation speech went smashingly on Friday, and we enjoyed a relaxing, fun weekend with family and friends.

1) The Great Restaurant Debate
On Thursday night, the hubs had homework (and to write that speech I mentioned in the previous post), so we celebrated Cinco de Mayo in casual style - eating Qdoba at our coffee table. This always leads us to ponder which is - in fact - the the best, fast Mexican chain restaurant: Moe's, Chipotle, or Qdoba? Sometimes, it's the little debates in life that make for the best conversation. (I will argue on the behalf of Chipotle to the death. Unfortunately, the nearest one is a couple of hours away, so Qdoba has to suffice. I am not a Moe's fan. Please tell me you share my opinion.)

2) Thor
We saw it. I'm not a fan of super hero movies. But, I really liked this one. I'd definitely recommend it for a date night, especially if you always disagree about movies (like us) and want to earn some compromise brownie points.

3) We don't own a guard dog.
We live in a neighborhood where they are still building. Right now, they've made a couple of loud noises you can hear in our house. Kona immediately high-tailed (low-tailed?) it into the office where I'm at. Seriously, he's sitting under the desk. Picture proof:

4) New Battery
My work laptop desperately needs a new battery. It's operating on electricity only right now. I used our internal ordering system to buy a new one. I noticed that all the part numbers had the same disclaimer: "***Please confirm correct battery choice before purchasing.***" It turns out there's a reason for this emphasis. I picked my computer type and still ended up with the wrong battery. Oops. Since I work from home, I'll have to wait four days to see if my second choice fairs better than the first.

5) Ring Question
Do you get your wedding/engagement rings/other "fancy" rings you wear daily cleaned regularly? How often? Is it inexpensive? Necessary? My rings didn't come from the same store, so I've always wondered how to go about getting them cleaned. So I haven't.

In addition to the love for my own mother I shared yesterday, I wanted to wish all the moms and moms-to-be in blogland a very happy (belated) mother's day!

Joining up with Carissa at Lowercase Letters.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thank you, Mom.

From the day I was born,
 and at every day along the way,
you've been there for me.
As an example, as a counselor, as a teacher, as a friend.
 Thank you.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Deals, Favorites, and Public Speaking

My interest in couponing (a la Extreme Couponing) ebbs and flows. However, I never get tired of the coupons and special offers I receive in the mail/e-mail from non-food stores. Sometimes they are a big fakeout, such as FREE SHIPPING if you $150 or more. (Seriously, that is (one of) my pet peeve(s). Who spends, on a normal occasion, $150 at one store?) But, all in all, they save money and occasionally make something unaffordable, affordable. What's not to love?

At some point along the line, I got on Victoria's Secret's mailing list. Now, I get a consistent arsenal of coupons from them. I'm certainly not complaining (I haven't paid for underwear in two years.). Last month, I received a $10 off anything coupon, and I picked up these sleep pants (which I am wearing now). I love the smocked waistband, infinitely more comfortable than a normal elastic waist. It's like wearing a cloud. (Not that I have official proof of this, but I imagine wearing a cloud would be way comfortable.)

I also used a couple of coupon codes from Kodak Gallery to order two mini-albums of our wedding photos (18 months later) for our moms. Two albums for $32 with shipping. Two happy moms.

This is the cover. When I shared it with the hubs, he said, "Hey, that picture makes it look like we're pregnant." This declaration was both inaccurate and somewhat of a buzzkill. However, I choose to presume that the mothers aren't going to draw the same conclusion.

When not making slightly less-than-endearing comments about my custom gifts, my husband was named "Sailor of the Quarter" amongst the staff that teach and/or support the training school he works at. As a result, he was given the honor of speaking at an upcoming graduation ceremony. I'm not really sure that a forced public speaking opportunity is ever a true "honor" (because, ugh, public speaking is higher than death on the fears list for a reason), but tonight he's putting the final touches on his speech. I think it's pretty significant that he has the opportunity to speak to this group of sailors, who are at an exciting, yet intimidating, point in their baby Navy careers. I'm confident he's going to nail it (if not on looks alone). Not that I'm partial.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hairnesty (Shampoo boycott - week 3)

One week ago I posted my plan to limit myself (indefinitely) to once-per-week shampooing. I feel it's only fair to openly state that after hitting "post," everything went downhill.

Last Wednesday, I woke up and rinsed (only) and dried my hair followed by an application of dry shampoo. I had an appointment, and I wanted to look nice. (Remember, for comparison's sake, that the first two Wednesdays of my experiment, I'd let my hair dry naturally.)

About two hours later, I asked my sweet husband, "How does my hair look?" He answered (without a hint of rudeness or snark), "Greasy."

So, yeah.

Conveniently, you left some interesting comments on my previous post about alternating conditioner and shampoo. So, on Thursday and Friday, I rinsed and conditioned. And on both days, my hair ended up in a ponytail. (I think my experiences can be blamed on starting with hair that was abnormally greasy.)

And finally, on Saturday, I did leave my hair curly, per my usual routine, but I looked pretty rough. (It didn't help that I went to Merle Norman to pick-up some make-up that afternoon, with my rough-looking hair and no make-up on. I walked into the store to see a group of girls getting their make-up done for a wedding. They looked so cute; I had to remind myself about the merits of inner beauty just to keep myself from running out the door.)

I have never been so thankful to shampoo and condition as I was on Sunday.

My revised thoughts:
I tried to do too much at once. If you read the article, you notice it said to ease into the "no-poo" lifestyle. I got all crazy and jumped in head first (very unlike me, mind you).

Moving forward, here is my new plan:

Sunday: Shampoo/condition; straighten (no product).
Monday: Nothing (no rinse/wash, leave dry)
Tuesday: Condition only; straighten (no product).
Wednesday: Shampoo/condition; straighten (no product).
Thursday: Nothing (no rinse/wash, leave dry)
Friday: Condition only; straighten (no product).
Saturday: Rinse/condition. Leave curly with product.
Sunday: Shampoo/condition; straighten (no product).

I also reserve the right to modify at any time.

There you have it - an honest update. Anyone else have a "no-poo" experience?

I leave you with a few comments from last week. Everyone's hair is unique, but maybe one of their routines will help you make a hair break-through!

Elizabeth: It has been over nine months since I shampoo (or a straightener) has touched my long, ultra thick, very curly (translate - SUPER frizzy) hair. I use conditioner (all natural - organinc) as my cleanser as well as for my leave-in conditioner. Unfortunately, I HAVE to wet and recondition my hair (in order to present some sort of civilized mess) to the public everyday...which does nothing to reduce the amount of time I spend on it. I might actually be spending more time on it daily than ever, however, I don't have the added time of straightening that's a plus. On the upside, my hair is the healthiest it's ever been! I haven't had a hair cut in about 10 months and STILL have no split ends!

I don't know if just using conditioner is helping the environment any but hopefully!

Chrl: I...go every other day with out washing or rinsing. In the summer I change it up a little bit more. I wash and straigten one day with a little product. Then just rinse the next day and add curling product. The third day I rinse condition and then add curling product if necessary. Then on day four I wash again.

Lindy: I love dry shampoo! I also just condition somedays and don't wash or rinse at all other days. I have thick short hair which sometimes can not be tamed and pony tails are not an option...

Bethy: Yay for no-poo!...I have to admit, I haven't gotten down that low. I've done twice a week. Plus I was my bangs pretty much every other day because they sit on my forehead all day and end up quite greasy. (Ew, TMI.)...

P.S. Some asked if my hair smelled. It doesn't smell "freshly washed" by the third day, but I didn't notice any bad/gross smell.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday again?

In high school, I remember many people signing yearbooks, populating AIM profiles, etc. with these Grateful Dead lyrics:

"Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip its been."

I can't say I was cool enough to reference the Grateful Dead in my high school yearbook nor have I ever actually heard the song, but somehow it came to mind as I scanned over the events of the past week.

1) Appointment follow-up
Thank you for your prayers. My procedure was completed successfully. Minus (TMI warning) a couple hours of cramps and some hot flashes (Sorry for all the times I told you to "walk it off" when you had a hot flash, Mom.) (Ok, I didn't say that, but now I know that I never should.). Even though it's easy for me to worry too much and struggle with God over whose in charge, I'm so thankful that I'm not, and I'm so thankful that we live in a part of the world with preventative care.

2) Cullman
I know the "southern" tornadoes have been all over the news. They hit close to the homes and hearts of many. My husband's family lives in Cullman, AL, one of the towns hardest hit by the AL tornadoes. Please keep them and others in your prayers. Thankfully, my M/F-in-laws' home wasn't hit, but a house four doors down was. Right now, I think there's a lot of numb, a lot of nerves, and a lot of thankfulness.

Cullman, AL, courthouse

3) My husband's dream barbecue
Last night, the hubs and I grilled up some boneless pork chops and some asparagus, and we ate it on the back patio.

Add a loaf of french bread, and no plates were necessary. We ate directly off the baking sheets. (No, we don't do it often, but it was fun and such easy clean-up.)

4) South Pacific
I love musicals, but I've never seen this one. During a Friday night girls' night, my friends introduced me.

It's full of fun songs and some cheese (but goodness did they go overboard with the "mood" coloring. How have I not seen it before?

5) Photo-op
I bought a maxi dress from Target recently. I love it because its not too long for a short(er) gal like me. I felt wearing it to church yesterday call for a photo-op. My hubs didn't agree, but he obliged.

Yay, Target! (As usual.)

Happy Monday! Tomorrow, I have a "no poo" hair update. Stay tuned.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters