Thursday, February 25, 2010

Right in My Own Backyard

Do you ever drive by the same store/restaurant/dive bar every day and think you should stop in, but never do? This little gem of a restaurant/diner is right down the street from me but I'd never been there. Mainly because from the looks of the sign, I figured it was just a diner. But this girl was wrong. A quick look on Yelp told me that I needed to hightail my ass down the street and get some grub. Why? Because I'm a sucker for home-cooked food like perogies and meatloaf. I also appreciate cute and/or theme-y decor. And finally, with Blinky on the way, eating out has to be on the cheap. This place has all of the above.

We met up with our buds Sarah & Todd for dinner. Dinner is what pregnant girls can really get behind. Deny us our booze and late nights but give us our food. And lots of it. Sarah, of course, looks wonderful for being 7 months preggo.

Me at 4 months, not so much. Yikes. Blame it on the cutesy retro- but terrible lighting.

So I now have a new place to eat. In fact, I've already been back here for dinner with my friend Kelly. But breakfast will be the true test for me. Maybe this weekend, I can convince John-boy to take me back. Pregnant girls loooooove their pancakes. For a more in-depth look at our visit to Lucky's, check out Sarah the Elite Yelper's review here.

You Don't Say

As we're expecting another foot of snow. Another foot. Awesome.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beef Stew Y'all

This was my first stew! And mannnn, it was delicious. And can I tell you that... honestly? It was my first time buying "beef" besides ground beef. Different cuts of beef have always frightened and confused me. Too many options, too many different names. So I bucked up, confronted the meat section and browsed. I stood there reading all the labels until finally something made sense. It actually said Stew Meat. Bells rang, lights from heaven shone down. It was time for me and Beef Stew to get to know each other.

1 1/2 lbs stew meat
1 packet Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1 1/2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
3-4 potatoes, cubed
4-5 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, with juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with water below
1/4 cup cold water

1. Put all ingredients except cornstarch in a slow cooker on low heat for 6-8-10 hours.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with water.
3. Turn heat to high and stir until thickened.

Crock Pots rule.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MWF ISO Crappy Dresser to Love & Re-Finish

So right now plans for Blinky's nursery are all in my head. Nothing is bought, no mood boards concocted, nothin. Like I mentioned before, there will be no characters, no pastels, nothing like that. I'm liking neutrals (cream, white, tan) with a few pops of of them being red. Without a doubt, this nursery will have a bright red dresser. I dream of bright red shiny dressers. I don't know what style the dresser will be yet since I hope to get it for $20 from craiglist sometime in the near future. I don't know what shade of red it will be either. It could end up brick red or fire engine red, who knows. But oh yes, it will be red. It's the one thing I know for sure.

The above might be my fave

all images courtesy of a good ol fashioned google search.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Claim to Fame

Have I told you lately how awesome my mom is? I've been blessed with SERIOUSLY the nicest woman ever as my mother. She's quiet, kind and unassuming. You'd never know from looking at her or even hanging out with her a few times that she's got a pretty darn cool claim to fame. Here's a brief synopsis.

When my mom was a teenager, she was, probably like many of your moms, a HUGE Beatles fan. One day, her and a few friends taped themselves singing a few Beatles songs. They decided they sounded awesome and that they should send the tape to the Beatles themselves. Fame, fortune and notoriety would soon follow, of course. My mom volunteered to take the package to the post office and when she did, she was told that overseas mail had to have a return address marked on it. So she wrote her name in the upper left corner, dropped the tape in the mail and went along her merry teenage way.

Fast forward a few years later and my mom receives a letter in the mail. From none other than...Mrs. Louise Harrison...George Harrison's mom. The BEATLE! Apparently Mrs. Harrison helped with some of the fan mail and came across my mom and her friends' tape and wrote to my mom to let her know. And who knows if it's true, but she said George listened to it too! Craziness. Can you imagine getting a letter from one of the Beatles' moms??

Excerpt from the first letter...

So after freaking out, I'm sure, and calling every single one of her girlfriends, my mom wrote back to Mrs. Harrison. She told her about her life, growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, her big family and of course, her undying love for all things Beatlemania. This started a tradition of the two of them writing back and forth. My mom was actually penpals with George Harrison's mom.

As she got older, my mom went on to graduate from nursing school and along the way, had a few more penpals. One of them was Helen, who was her age, a nurse and lived in England. Many letters later, my mom decided that at 19, she was going to jet off to England. No one at home was very happy with her decision. She had 6 younger brothers and sisters to help raise and at that time, girls just didn't go running off to other countries on a whim. But she did it anyway. She got a place with Helen and the two of them were living the life, working at a British hospital.

Mom's on the left

While my mom was living over there, she kept up her correspondance with Mrs. Harrison and soon made plans to go visit her. So more letters were written, plans were made and the day came. My mom got on a few trains and ended up being picked up by the Harrisons. She spent the day with them at their estate, having tea and looking over memorabilia. Unfortunately the Beatles just happened to be HUGE at the moment so it's not like George was hanging around waiting to meet her. But still, she had her moment.

Excerpt from the planning letter...

So this is her claim to fame and I happen to think it's awesome. Is it possible for you to be proud of your mom 40 years ago? Before you were even thought of? Because I am. I'm proud of her for going to England on her own, despite what everyone she cared about thought of her decision. And look what a cool story to tell at parties she got out of the whole experience.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Can I Trade Rock Salt for Margarita Salt?

Lest you think I am out and about gallavanting somewhere not covered in 3 feet of packed, dirty snow, I am not. Somewhere that makes it out of the 30's during the day. Somewhere where the sun shines when you wake up and is still going at 5pm. Somewhere where the piles of snow are not so high in every parking lot that driving through them has been a life or death adventure. No I've been here. However, I've been on a much needed make-believe vacation.

My imaginary flight home is this weekend so I'll be back next week. Adios.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Story of Us

In honor of St. Valentine's Day...

It was around 4:40 pm on a Saturday afternoon in June 2003. I was waitressing at one of the Italian restaurants that put me through college. It was during the everyday lull that existed between getting my sidework done and the first customer being seated. The other waitresses, busboys and I were sitting around, most likely getting our last full cigarette in for the night, when my cell phone rang. It was John calling me for the first time. My stomach flip-flopped a little. I had thought he was nice and cute when I met him on Thursday night but honestly never expected a call, let alone one so soon.

We made plans to hang out that night after my shift. We hung out. He took me out for a proper date on Tuesday night. He met my mom & he charmed my grandmom. In the next few months, he memorized every aunt, uncle and cousin’s name in my family (hard to do when you’re facing a huge Irish Catholic family). He drove 30 minutes for the perfect Nifty Fifty’s milkshake for me when my wisdom teeth came out. He came to my mom’s in a snowstorm to pick me up and bring me back to his house so we could be together. He embraced my friends as if they were his own, even though we’re all 10 years younger than him. He let me change his wardrobe because c’mon, it needed to be done. He let me set up shop in his house where I promptly de-bachelorized it. He made a really difficult decision so that we could be together…and happy together. He welcomed the absurd nicknames I called him. He put up with me despising his cat.

He was there when I graduated from college. We went mini golfing and to comedy shows. We went to bars with our friends although he’d get sick of that much sooner that I did (wait, I still haven’t). Two years and two weeks after we met, he proposed to me. He was there in every step of planning our wedding. Two years and two months after that, we got married. Our honeymoon to San Francisco and Napa was our first real vacation together. We bought new furniture and remodeled bathrooms. We hosted dinner parties. We changed jobs. Every Halloween, he’d climb into whatever ridiculous costume I made for him on my promise that it would be hysterical. We bought each other ridiculous amounts of Christmas presents. He took me to a live taping of SNL. I bought him his now-lucky bowling ball. I learned to tolerate that small horse of a cat. He continued to charm my grandmom with his appreciation of gin. I went on movie dates with his mom.

We traded in the red Mustang I brought with me into the relationship and left with a very adult, good-in-the-snow Altima. We celebrated anniversaries with sappy cards and cheeseburger pie dinners and sometimes trips to NY and DC. We bought a new house. We swapped work stories. We watched our friends get married. We talked about our future kids. We hosted more parties. We realized that I finally loved that friggin cat just as much as he did. We went to Hawaii. We got pregnant. And we're only just getting started.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Baby Files - Weeks 13/14

Now is the time when I realize that those women featured on " I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" might not be complete lunatics. These few weeks in between hearing the baby's heartbeat (167!) at the end of Week 12 and the next time I go see the doc at Week 16, are kind of low-key, boring ones. Yup, baby is growing to the size of a lemon, or plum, but I only know that because of the weird pregnancy charts that are on every babysite out there that tell me. But other than that, there are no ultrasounds scheduled for anytime soon. I won't be able to feel the baby move for quite awhile. If it weren't for my pants not fitting anymore, it's easy to forget that I'm growing a little human inside of me. So I've invested in the BeBand from Target that keeps my pants up without having to button them. Um, why didn't anyone tell me about this product before I was pregnant? I could have avoided a lot of embarrassing need-to-unbutton-my-pants-cuz-I-ate-too-much situations. Thanksalot friends. Ha.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

He Totally Likes Me

So what's better than receiving a grocery store bouquet of roses and a card from the hub just because we're bff's? Nada in my book. Ok well, maybe if there were a bag of gummi bears included. No, no this is perfect, as is.

p.s. Did you know that roses are in fact my favorite flower? Maybe it's because I don't really "do" other flowers or know about them or know what they look like or their names but I enjoy a nice rose. As long as it's not dipped in gold.

p.p.s. Red roses are also the subject of an inside joke between the two of us. But no one ever likes hearing inside jokes so I won't be rude and I'll spare you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hand-Held Pasta Salads!

Dude, I know it's not summer. I only need to look at yesterday's post to realize that. And I know that pasta salad screams summer & BBQ's and whatnot. But I wanted to make a little something to bring to my bud Katie's PJ & Sweatpants Birthday party a few weeks ago but I was also feeling lazy. This seems to happen a lot to me. A lot of ideas but no motivation. Oh well. I decided to punch in some ingredients I had on hand and let the internets do the work for me. They suggested pasta salad without the pasta. BUT!!! The salad goes inside the jumbo pasta shells. Genius. And who am I to argue with the internet?

So here are the directions should you live somewhere a) it's summer (Hi Aussies!) and can get good veggies or b) you don't care that it's February and your veggies are crap this time of year.

Step 1) Make your favorite pasta salad recipe but don't put the pasta in! Seriously do not forget that last part. Kinda defeats the purpose.

Step 2) Cook some jumbo shells and let cool. Then spoon the salad mixture inside. Refrigerate for a few hours...or just one. They'll taste fine.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Batten Down the Hatches

We knew it was coming. The snowpocalypse of least according to every local news source. It started Friday night and continued until Saturday afternoon. I welcomed it. I welcomed the opportunity to stay inside and lounge. I welcomed not having an excuse to run to Target. I welcomed the possibility of getting some laundry done but not feeling bad if I didn't. More than anything, I welcomed being able to do absolutely nothing. Current moms love to dole out the advice to pregnant chicks about sleeping now because in a few months we won't be able to. Well, I'm taking that advice to heart and doing zilch. It's awesome.

So I started preparations on Friday afternoon by renting Season 5 of Weeds to get us through the weekend. I picked up some kaiser rolls and our favorite chicken salad for those at-home weekend lunches that we never seem to have. We picked up a pizza for dinner and went home to hunker down for the storm.

The snow came and didn't stop. We just kept doing nothing. However, that's not to say that a snowstorm of this proportion (we got upwards of 26" this weekend) doesn't come with a bit of work for the man of the house. But I encouraged him to not get a head start on the snow by shoveling/plowing 4 times during the storm, like he always wants to do. We waited it out until Sunday when the sun was shining and slightly helping by melting a little bit of the mess.

I did wander outside for 2 minutes in shorts, a hoodie and boots to capture these pics. Consider that doing my part.

So by Sunday afternoon, we were free again. And what's the first thing I did? Went to Target.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Random Smattering

Just some final pics from the party.
Me & the Birthday Boy after we totally shocked the hell out of him.

Dessert Table minus the flowing chocolate fondue.

Look at the hippie ducks! Adorbs, no? Got em from Oriental Trading.
Of course, the homemade banner...
Lava Lamps! Purple ones! And I didn't have to spend $40 each off the ebays! Got em for $5 each from 5 Below.
So that's bout it. Thanks for all your sweetiepie comments on the invites, cookies and photoshop embarrassments. Warm fuzzies :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Who Knew My Husband Got Around So Much?

When kicking around ideas for decorations for John’s 1970 themed party with my friend Kelly, she brilliantly suggested I paste John’s head on famous people, places and things from that decade. So I did. I photoshopped John’s face onto the following, printed & matted them and hung them gallery-style in the dining room. I will save these things forEVER just because they crack me up. Here are some of my faves.
Ha! The above is my alltime fave. Love. Seriously cannot stop cracking up.
This picture just looks like it smells funky.

This one almost looks a little too real.

Wait, so does this one.

Why does my husband fit into the 70's so flawlessly?? Creepy!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lordy Lordy Look Who's 40

It's John. My old man went over the hill this past weekend and months of planning a surprise 1970 themed party came to fruition. All of our fave friends and family ventured out in a minor snowstorm to celebrate the life of my darling husband. But before I share pics of the actual party, I'll have to clue you in on all the minor details that happened in hushed tones and secret meetings that occured while he worked late.

The invites: A few months ago the 1970 theme hit me and I knew that 8-Tracks had to play a part. So I hit up the ebay and bid on a lot of dirty, stained old 8-tracks and won! This is not an accomplishment as there is an abundance of this useless technology available on teh interwebs. So I put my mad poetic skillz to use, came up with the invite wording and printed it out on full sheet labels. Slapped em on the 8-Tracks and off to the mailbox they went. They were a huge hit which made me happy. Who doesn't love a broken Elton John 8-Track to add to their collection?

The Favors: Seriously, why is it only kids that get goodie bags at parties? Not fair. I suggest, in addition to the food and booze you provide your guests, give them a little something to take home. Bouncy balls, chinese handcuffs, etc...I chose sugar cookies mostly because I've had this hankering for playing with royal icing. I kept seeing all these amazing looking cookies online and decided I needed to learn how. So I called up my buddy Adrienne to come bake with me. She loves to wash dishes too but that's totally not why I invited her over.

So anyway, we baked up some cookies and made some pretty icing and set off to precisely decorating them. And now I think I may be obsessed with the stuff. It sets so nicely and even when you're a novice, they come out looking pretty sweet. Nice, eh?

More details to follow! My booze-less hard-partying this weekend left me with a pinched nerve in my shoulder and I can barely move my left arm. Hurts like a bitch and now that combined with my never-ending backpain, I walk around looking like Quasimodo. Hotstuff. So what I'm trying to say is that it hurts sitting here typing so I'm going to stop. now.


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