2009... you're outta here!

Sad to see you go? Not sure really. The end of 2008 was a doozy and most of this year was spent on pins and needles, but it is ending up pretty good. I have a great job; one that lets me stay home the week between Christmas and New Years. One that lets me go to grad school and further my education at a much reduced price than other schools! My hubby and I are healthy and happy and looking to the future very happily. So really 2009, you haven't been that bad.
2010 I have some really high hopes for you, you can't let me down. I promise to give you all the support and 100% effort to make you the best year that you can possibly be. I promise to live each day to the fullest and try not wish the days away. Even when winter doesn't seem like it is ever going to end, or even as the summer days are winding down, I promise to try to find the beauty in every day. I promise to let each day be new and full of possibility, not let the bad days go on and on. I know that we are in this together and you should know I am ready. We can do this. No offense 2009 there really is nothing more for us to do. We should just have fun this last day and remember the good times. We can stay friends.

Happy New Year All! I hope you have a fun and safe evening!



Twas the 5 days before Christmas...

Tis 5 days before Christmas and I'm just starting to get my stuff done. This weekend was another busy bee weekend, although not as busy as last weekend. Today I was at the Pond House in West Hartford photographing the character brunch for Hartford Stage. The stage brings some characters from the show and you get to mingle with while enjoying the delicious brunch that the Pond House serves. It was fun, even if I did have to leave the absolutely cozy and warm house to venture into the bitterly cold morning. Today we are trimming our tree and making lasagna for hubby to take to school. I also managed to get some more shopping done. I can't seem to get done this year... same list as always not sure what that is all about. Oh well... slowly but surely even that will get done.
Hope you all enjoyed the snow day.



2.5 weeks of craziness

My 2 1/2 weeks of craziness are starting to wind down. Not only was work nutso but my life was turned around too. I had Thanksgiving and friends over in the same weekend, then holiday parties and commencement, photographing Santa, baby shower, more friends over for dinner, midnight breakfast, two doctors appointments (I'm fine), final exam, shopping, first snow, cleaning.... AUGH. It has been enough to drive this lady NUTS! But here it is almost over. Whoo hoo.
Today was the last last class, got my final back and got a 94. Go me. I was kinda upset though, those 6 points were stupid mistakes that really could have been avoided. It should have been 100, and maybe I'm being hard on myself but dang it, It would have been great to get 100.
This weekend hubby and I will get our tree and decorate it. I will finish the shopping and next week should be smooth sailing to 11 days of FREEDOM. My first full fledged vacation in a long freeking time! I think I deserve it.



Since Thanksgiving...

Thanksgiving was fun. Hubby and I got up early to watch the parade and eat pumpkin waffles. I started cooking and the day unfolded from there. We had a small turkey breast and a big pork roast. Yum... and salad, roasted veggies, potatoes and of course stuffing. The best part is that hubby and I both got to do the carving.

My sister OUTDID herself with a complete dessert table. We are still eating dessert from Thanksgiving.

Everyone had a great time.

The rest of the weekend was super fun. We had a visit from my favorite family from Portland and talked about our upcoming vacation plans together.

Hubby and I went for a long walk in the neighborhood to the great new cafe that opened nearby(and on our way found where the sidewalk ends).

I had breakfast with my adventure book club peeps and we got to see our goods from our glass blowing expedition.

And we went to the first official holiday gathering.

Lastly I want to tell you about leftovers... and not just any leftovers but the pork roast. I really did not want that beast hanging around in the fridge and I knew that we would not eat it all in the leftover state that it was so we made pulled pork out of it. We took all the leftovers and threw it into the crock pot with pretty much anything else we could find in the fridge... bbq sauce, mustard, apple cider and other tasty things, let it cook for 4-5 hours and all I can say is D.E.L.I.S.H.

I don't have an after picture because we ate it all up so fast!



Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish you all a happy, healthy and safe day today.
I am thankful to be hosting my family this year. We are all healthy and will be together, what more is there to ask for.
Hope you have a wonderful day!




Ahhh... Thanksgiving is this week and I'm starting to feel it. Mom and I spent the afternoon talking about the menu and doing the shopping and I AM LOVING IT. It is worth taking the afternoon off and getting to walk the store when there are not that many people around. We even went out to lunch and finished off with a coffee. AWESOME.
I will try to take lots of pictures and explore our menu and traditions later in the week.
Right now I am feeling pretty thankful this Thanksgiving. It was a year ago tomorrow that I lost my last job. I was pretty devastated as I REALLY loved that job and those folks. I spent 9 months pounding the pavement until I got my awesome job at the University. It was a tough time but through it all I was SO LUCKY to have the support system that I have. It is something so easily taken for granted and overlooked, until you need them.
Most importantly of course was my hubby. I was reminded daily why I married him and why he and I work so well together. He knew the times I was really down and was there for me. Cheered me on for every interview and made sure to dog the jobs I didn't get. My mom and sister are a definite second. They called all the time and made sure to keep my spirits up. My mom treated me to lunches and pedicures. She is my true hero. On those days that I was really down and taking that situation so personally, she reminded me of all the good that I have in my life and that the situation I was in was temporary. Last but not least in the bit were my friends; book clubs, walking dates, coffee treats, endless phone calls, text messages and instant messages. I truly have the best friends a gal could ask for.
So this Thanksgiving I am thankful for ALL that I have. I am reminded how blessed I am and I am looking forward to the year to come.
Thanks peeps!


It's starting to feel like...

November! We have the heat on most of the time. I am wearing slippers and thick socks instead of my flip flops. There are leaves all the over the yard instead of grass clippings and flowers. The days are shorter and most conversations start with "So what are you doing for Thanksgiving?"
Today was rainy and dreary and cool... the perfect November Saturday.
1 week and some til Thanksgiving and 1 month and some til Christmas.
So what are you doing for Thanksgiving? I am hosting and we are not eating turkey. I refuse. I don't wanna make it and I don't love to eat it. I eat it almost every day during the year in my lunch. Plus it is such a beast to make. This year we are having thanksgiving pork roast... and a small turkey breast for the kids. You might have heard me say that Thanksgiving is more about lasagna in our family. The one year my Mom tried to skip it and make tagliatelle or manicotti was a disaster. I said, "Thanksgiving without lasagna is like Thanksgiving without turkey!" So it's kinda funny that now that it is my choice...we are gonna have Thanksgiving without turkey, well not a big turkey anyway.
Any traditions you can't live without?




Anyone out there? Anyone still checking in?
If you are there, I am sorry. I have been a terrible blogger. Never updating, slacking on the pics. Don't blame you for giving up on me.
Well here is a little update.
I am...
studying, doing homework, daydreaming, working, shopping with my sister and niece, blowing glass, buying hot black knee high boots, making plans, cleaning, walking, working out, making plans, making spaghetti squash, loving life, wishing my hubby was feeling better, smiling, watching my favorite shows on DVR (what did I ever do before DVR), reading, working on my first exam as an MBA student, planning Thanksgiving dinner, thinking about the holidays, planning every single minute of my week between X-mas and New Year's.
What about you?



Is it Friday yet?*

(* I wrote this on Thursday)
I've been feeling this a lot lately. Life is busy and bit overwhelming.
I can't seem to keep up with myself lately. I started school and have been formally accepted into the MBA program at UHA. Very exciting!?!
It's hard to get excited because I am so overwhelmed. I can't seem to get into the swing of the rhythm of school. I know that with time it will come, but right now it seems so HUGE and insurmountable.
I also can't seem to keep on top of the house work. I feel like it is always a choice of homework or housework... and since I am paying to go to school I feel more obligated to the homework. Hubby has been super great about picking up the slack... but really it's just not enough. Then I think about the millions of women that have full time jobs, children, are getting an education... and I think I am such a whiner... and then I think damn I need a cleaning lady. heehee
November is looming ever closer and with that bring the holidays... it's there in the stores, in the newspaper, on the internet... everywhere. Am I ready, heck no! I love Fall and have been enjoying the leaves changing and the sweatshirt weather that we have been enjoying, but ornaments and turkeys and mistletoe? Not so much, well maybe the mistletoe; I would leave that up all year if hubby would let me.
Here's to slowing down this weekend and trying to soak up the last possible weekend before the holiday stress comes barreling at us.



Happy Anniversary, 7 is a great number

Today my hubby and I celebrated 7 years of married bliss.
I am so lucky to have a husband that respects me, honors me, supports and loves me unconditionally (even if he likes my new longer locks better than the short do I used to sport).
Today was a gorgeous day. I woke up early and did some homework and then got ready to head out into the sunshine. We went to a new bakery/ cafe/ pastry shop in my hood. Ohmigoodness! We are so excited to have such an awesome place to head to on those days when you just don't want to stay home. Vida Doce is a great addition to Newington. We had some small panini and delicious coffee. Afterwards we headed to Belltown Orchards to go apple picking. We always have such a great time at Belltown, there is a tractor that drives around the huge orchard and you can hop on and off depending on what apples you want to pick. We got TONS of apples. Next we headed further into Glastonbury to figure out lunch/dinner options... and we ended up at Plan B, very apropos and always delish.
At this time 7 years ago we were dancing our butts off hanging with amazing friends and family. We were so lucky to have so many amazing people there to celebrate with us. I will have to figure out a way to get some of those pics on here and facebook so you can see what a great time we had.
Today we are even luckier and more blessed as our family has grown and continues to grow (NO I AM NOT PREGGERS!).


Shopping Day

Today was the first personal day that I have taken at my new job. I have officially been there long enough to get paid to take a day off! It was GREAT.
I've been feeling lately like I don't dress the part at work. My summer wardrobe was graciously updated at the beginning of the job by my mother-in-law... (If I haven't told you about that shopping spree, let's get a coffee and dish) but lately my Fall/ Winter wardrobe is super BLAH! So... I asked for a budget and a day off and I went hog wild (not really). It does feel nice to think that I will have nice clothes to wear to the office and I stayed well within my budget. YAY!
I still want to try to find some boots and maybe one or two other things... I guess I'm never satisfied!


Back to school

So I picked up my book and I have my first assignment.
I remember so fondly the day that I graduated college. Never again will I have to write a paper, never again will I have to read a book on demand, never again will I have to endure the speech during exams about blue books and study groups. And now here I go again. Am I crazy or what. I am starting my first class in 10 years. Um, make that 10 and ½ years. AND the class that I am starting… Intro to Quantitative Methods in Business… yup, that’s me... crazeee. Probably gonna be the one in the corner of the library quietly crying and rocking back and forth while the 18 year-olds throw stuff at me. Can you tell I’m scared.
(I'm not even represented in that clipart pic cuz I'm still in the fetal position crying on the floor).


Shout out

Ok peeps... if you want to enter an AWESOME give away (I can't because she basically gives-away to me all the time) head over to JudyB Designs... you will thank me.
And best of all your jewelry box will LOVE me... mine does.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE FALL... I was married in the Fall and love to celebrate my anniversary every year. This year we are going to make a whole day of it (since it is on a Sunday) and go apple picking, out for my favorite coffee and then of course dinner out.



Never fear... I am here!

Hi peeps... gosh these past couple of weeks have been SUPER DUPER BUSY. I think that I've been out every single night... what have I been up to you ask... well let me tell you.
* I saw Young Frankenstein at the Bushnell
* I got totally spookified at the Mark Twain House graveyard shift tour
* I had dinner with my sister and her gorgeous family and got to sit out by the fire pit and watch the kids get mesmerized by the fire
* I went to the Durham Fair
* I played Apples to Apples with my peeps and ate Chinese take out
* I went to a bridal shower
* I went to happy hour
* I went out to dinner with my hubby to Firebox and LOVED IT!
* I went to visit my Mom
* I went to a Silpada party with the book club ladies and had a GREAT time.
* I went to celebrate my friend's 30th b-day with champagne and cake... always delish
* I went to Book Club 2's first meeting of the minds and had a faboo time
* hmmm throw in work, grocery shoppping, water aerobics a couple of times a week, a walk around here or there...
And that is what I have been up to. It has been AWESOME.
Next week is another doozy starting in a few hours...
* water aerobics training today and tomorrow.
* dinner and fire pit with friends tonight.
* first lecture at school Monday
* Tuesday screening for Where the Wild Things Are
* Thursday I've had no less than 3 invites and I have another event at school
* Friday and Sunday is BRAND: New at Hartford Stage (check it out peeps) (Shout out to HANA!!!!!)
* Saturday is the Aids walk... let me know if you are interested in donating or walking.
Ok... really I gotta get going.


Checking in.

Hi peeps. Miss you. Love you.
Hope all is well with everyone. Hope you are all enjoying the gorgeous Fall weather we have been having, minus today of course.
I will update again soon. Until then...



Fall is right around the corner

You can smell it in the air, see it on the trees, and know it because of the need for the long sleeves and sweat shirts. I love sweat shirts (remember it was my uniform last Winter). So warm and cuddly and not as serious as a sweater. Love em.
Been super busy as of late and loving it. Hubby and I have been spending a LOT of time together and it has been great. Friday we vegged out in front of the TV with take out, caught up on a weeks worth of shows. Saturday we went for a LONG drive and today we are just catching up on stuff.
Handed in the application for grad school... minus the letter of intent. Just cannot write the damn thing. Have about half done, not sure what else to write. I really suck at this... don't tell them. HA! I'm sure that it will come together... I hope.
Hope all is well out there in bloggie land.


PS. Bought some great music lately.... India.arie Testimony vol. 2, Pink's Funhouse, The Essential Heart...


Concert sightings

Last night we went to the Heart and Journey concert. Heart can belt and Journey wasn't bad either. We met here at our house and ate shrimp and pasta (see previous post for shrimp details) and drank red wine with dinner and limoncello for dessert. All in all and delish diner.
Drove to the concert, all was dandy. In line to get the tickets and I recognize a group of friends... I am amazed. Matt, Jess, Marcus, various husbands and girlfriends and I'm all this is crazy to run into you. I turn around and my chiropractor and her husband walk in...Nuts I tell you. I walk all the way into the venue and my best friend and her boyfriend are there standing in line at the bar. We get to our seats and enjoy the music. Heart rocks... they really can sing. Head out during set change, chilling with hubby and friend and hubby's aunt walks by.. I swear to you... so, I wasn't surprised when a few minutes later I saw two more peeps I know and then as a topper one more on the way to the ladies room.
Crazee I tell you.



New Month, New Post, New Kitchen Floor and lots of shrimp

I wanted to post at the beginning of the month to tell you all how another month has passed and all the things I am up to… and then it was today. I really am sorry about the lack of posts. I can seem to be free at night and when I am I get in bed at 9pm, like the other night and cozy up with a book.
Thursday night was one of the first nights home in a week or so. I came home right from work, chatted with hubby for a bit. Made dinner (with hubby), pork chops, zucchini, tomatoes and pineapple over brown rice, and then even made dessert, banana bread pudding for two. I found these recipes that are only for two servings, so perfect for a night home with the hubby and a sweet tooth like mine. And they are low calorie low sugar… the bread pudding was delicious. MyRecipes
Today we shopped til we were ready to drop. Hubby needed back to school clothes. He only really shops once a year so there was a lot to do. While we were out we decided to break in our "discount store that requires membership" card and headed to the huge store. We bought a lot of stuff most noteworthy.... drum roll please... a new kitchen floor. Ok so not a new kitchen floor but I've been looking around for an anti-fatigue floor covering for the area in my kitchen in front of the sink, stove, and counter. Until now there has been a carpet there that has seen it's last tumble with the washer. It really is the only area, besides sitting at the table, that gets the most use. I've been shopping online for awhile and the reason that I haven't bought anything is because 1) there is SO much to choose from and 2) it is a weird area 40"x60" 3)It is hard to imagine some of the materials without seeing and feeling it. Most of the not too expensive stuff (by the way 4) most of the choices were really expensive) was 2'x 2' tiles and that would mean having to cut it down and I wasn't really ready to buy something that A. I needed to cut B. I wasn't sure of what the material was like C. this listing stuff is fun.
Sooooo today at "big store" I found some tiles that are very similar to what I've been looking for and it was only $20 bucks. So I bought it, brought it home, cut it down to size and have been trying it out. I got to experience it to the fullest because hubby bought a HUGE box of shrimp that needed to be defrosted, peeled and de-veined. UGH. I will NEVER EVER AGAIN BUY SHRIMP THAT NEEDS TO BE PEELED OR DE-VEINED... for the record. So far so good. I will keep you updated. And if you know of anything that is good let me know.



New desk chair

They are emptying an office on campus and selling off all the stuff they don't need. I scored a new desk chair for hubby and me.
The pic is me in my new chair? How do I look?


PS. TGIF and have a great weekend!!


Today is a beautiful day.

Started out clear and crisp with a snap in the air. The snap that means that school is starting soon. Not sure why, but there is always one day around the time that hubby goes back to school that is like this, surely it will go back to HHH tomorrow or over the weekend and then not come back for a month. But it is almost like mother nature knows and wants to show that school is BACK ON.
I know hubby hates when school starts again but I secretly (guess not so secret anymore) love it… and not for the reason you think. I love our few minutes together in the morning, I love the smell of coffee being brewed by him, when I get out of the shower; it is the same maker and same coffee but it tastes leagues better when he makes it. He used to bring it to me in bed; but I had to stop that because by the time I got out of the shower it was already too cold. I love the small chatter that we share and then of course the “have a good day, I love you” hug and kiss, beats all!



Part 2

After indulging in coffee and toast we made our way down to Standard Bakery, where Jeff works. I don’t even walk in anymore because I am convinced that there are calories and butter molecules floating in the air. There is (among many believe me) a sweet that is leagues above the rest; fancier (I think it is spelled, and pronounce with a flair). They are a cross between a cookie and a dense muffin; they have almond flour and dark chocolate pieces… YUM. We had to have one to start the day.
From Standard we walked along Commercial Street to a really gorgeous gallery that had some of the most beautiful jewelry. Robin was kind enough to explain every piece and even let me try on the $9k ring. The boys went their own way and we finally met up with them right around lunchtime at Duck Fat (I assume it’s two words but it could be one, but it doesn’t matter). We have been hearing about Duck Fat forever and were so excited at the opportunity to try it out. The place is tiny. You can kinda see behind Jeff how small it is. Tiny isn’t even the word for this place. But the food was UN-BEEL-EVE-ABLE. The French fries are fried in … what other… duck fat. There are truffles in the ketchup. They have milkshakes with real full fat ice cream. And the panini’s are really good too. I’m sad that I didn’t try the beignets. For lunch I had the GBT- Goat cheese, bacon and tomato panini, hubby had the cubano – ham, pulled pork and bread and butter pickles and of course we shared a large fries. They also make their own soda, hubby had the root beer. I didn’t order a milkshake but Judy did and it was heaven through a straw, so creamy and cold but not icy. You have not had French fries until you have had their ff. You get a choice of dipping sauces to go with them; we tried the truffle ketchup because come on, when will you ever again find truffle ketchup, the garlic mayo. I went so far as to sprinkle some malt vinegar on mine… DEE-LISH. I will return to Duck fat and try everything else on the menu and get a side of those awesome fries every time.
So suffering from food coma at this point we walked back to the hotel, stopping at a few stores along the way decided to separate so that they could secure their babysitting and so we could relax a bit before dinner.
A few days before we arrived Judy asked me to choose the restaurant. She sent me the names of three restaurants and I couldn’t decide. They all looked so amazing. One better than the next. So she suggested her favorite restaurant and what an amazing choice it was. Vignola' sits on a side street near Commercial. The front of the restaurant is covered in vines and I was so happy as we were seated in the window seat. The wine and cocktail list was great. I ordered an orange basil mojito topped with prosecco, it tasted just like orangina, delicious.
Vignola’s pride themselves on local food from the lettuce to the steak. Most of the menu indicated locally grown food. The most impressive part of the menu was the cheese list. Covering exactly one half of the menu was the cheese list to rival all cheese lists. How could we not indulge. We ordered taleggio, manchego, goat and a local buttercup. One more rich than the next, so creamy and sharp; being the cheese lover that I am, I as in heaven. I ordered a red and green lettuce salad as an appetizer with local honey as the dressing, it was sweet and not over dressed, exactly what I wanted. For my meal I had swordfish steak over a bed of peashoot risotto and grilled zucchini and squash. The risotto was the star of the dish, perfectly cooked and seasoned and the peas were amazing and tender. The grilled veggies being the runner up perfectly cooked and dressed in very light oil. My first bite of sword fish was a little dry but turned out to be the only one. The swordfish was moist and tender and perfectly seasoned. The meal was stupendous. One of the best that I have had in a LONG time. The only dark spot in the evening was the service; although she was smiley and got everyone’s order right (except forgetting the fig bread at first) it was so slow. We were there for 2 and half hours and when we got there the restaurant was more than half empty. But honestly I can over look that in light of the amazing meal.
Whoa. I thought the first part was long…. Anyone still reading?
After the amazing dinner we went back to the Eastland Park hotel to have a drink on the roof top bar. The view was great and the drinks were plentiful. Sunday we woke up late had some breakfast in the room and finished a perfect weekend off with a visit to our friend’s place. Great weekend. Yay!
Ciao S

Foodie Weekend Part 1

We finally had a weekend away... a week ago.
We went to our favorite city to the north… Portland. Plus it means we get to visit our favorite baby… and family. We literally ate our way through the weekend. We haven’t always been so foodie about it but this time was different.
We arrived Friday evening about 9, checked into the hotel (we stayed at the Eastland Park, we usually stay with our friends but being that this is probably the only weekend we will get away we decided to splurge) and immediately went out to eat. We purposely didn’t eat before we left so that we could get on the road sooner. I spent some time the day before we left looking for restaurants near the hotel and narrowed it down to Katahdin (I couldn’t pronounce it either, it is named after a mountain in Maine, like I was supposed to know that) [kuh-tah-dn] and 555. We chose Katahdin because it was literally across the street from the restaurant and it sounded interesting. I called first to try to make a reservation and they don’t take any, when we got there it was pretty clear that at 10pm you don’t need a reservation. I had a super delish blueberry martini; it came with a sidecar in a small bowl of ice, basically two martinis in one. For appetizer we enjoyed steamed salmon dumplings; in a really thick soy sauce and some slaw on the side. The salmon was really lite in flavor and paired with the slaw made a perfect bite. For dinner I had lightly breaded flounder in a beur blanc sauce over mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. Hubby had grilled lobster over fettucine. I tried the lobster and fettucine and was not blown away. I thought the lobster was a little dry, the pasta was overcooked and the sauce was very thick. My flounder was good; flaky and not over breaded. We did not have dessert, the blueberry martini was enough.
Saturday morning we met with Judy at the famed Arabica; one of the great little coffee shops in the area. We always go and I always love it. The coffee is wonderful as is the various treats that they sell at the front desk. I was tempted by the sticky pecan buns but I was good and ordered a triple cappuccino with an order of toast. This may seem simple to you but if you’ve ever spent any time in Portland or know anyone from Portland, toast is not that simple. There is a “guy” that makes this toast daily and deliciously from scratch … the toast of the day was “dirty toast” regular white flour toast with a scoop of wheat thrown in to make it dirty. YUM. I am a huge toast fan. It was lightly buttered and I shared it with little Liv, she loved it too. Whew… this is only the beginning. More to come.
Ciao for now.


Weekend. check

Well it is the fateful Sunday afternoon... almost Sunday night. When all thoughts of fun and carefree are headed out the window. It was a great weekend. Today was a bit too lazy for my taste but I just couldn't get myself in gear. Gotta do some laundry so we'll see how that goes.
Yesterday was one of those perrrfect Summer days... Hubby and I and two other couples took a day trip to Providence, RI. We walked around for most of the morning, got a snack in little Italy, attempted a trip to the Providence Place mall and then walked to a nearby Brewery for some much needed food and relaxation. If you have ever been to the Providence Place Mall you know when I say that place is HUGE! It is not a mall to run into or just spend a little time in... it is a commitment. One that our group was not quite ready to make, and I for one was glad for it.
When the day was done we all went our separate ways and reconvened on our deck for some much needed reflection on the day and treats for all the walking around we did.
It was a gorgeous evening...except for the mosquitoes that would NOT leave us alone.
Today was a soggy rainy Sunday where the motivation was lost.
Hope you had a great weekend too!
(pics to come)


5 year plan

I’m taking a survey. Do you have one? Did you have one? Did you stick to it? Is it like a business plan or strategic plan where you divide it into categories and look at each one separate from the others?
I think I want one. Starting to think about how to go about it, maybe schedule a couple of meetings about it. One to brainstorm, then to accumulate all the ideas and then even a third to put the best course of action into place. I guess the good news is that there is no Board of to get mad that you didn’t follow through. Just me and the hubby to evaluate.
Hmmm just might. What about you?

(That is my madmen icon. Looks like me.. right?)


Busiest Bee

I have not had a night at home in forever... at least not without 20 other peeps here. :) This week and weekend proved to be just as busy as last week.
Monday I was at the gym and stopped to see Bridge and Ed, Tuesday night I had to run to the store to get a few things, Wednesday I ... um... can't remember... well I know I went to bed super early. Thursday was the Gimme 5 dance party in Hartford, I was really excited about it and then didn't spend a lot of time there because I was battling a crazy headache. Friday night I had the distinct pleasure to celebrate one of my favorite lady's birthday. She doesn't celebrate often so when she does you better come out! Today I went to the gym and then got my hair did and then ran a few errands. I am now waiting for some peeps to come over so we can plan a day trip for next weekend. After that I will head into West Hartford to celebrate with some friends on their recent wedding and upcoming addition to their family. Whew. Told you I was BUSSSSSEEEEEEYYYYYY.

(the pic is my new do)



I really can't believe that it has been two weeks since I posted.
I have been working now for 1.5 weeks and I am tired. I feel like a kindergartner at school for the first time. The office is great and the people are really wonderful. Everyone is really nice and encouraging me to go back to school. I am seriously considering it and will make an appointment in the graduate studies office soon. I might start small and take a class that is not necessary for my major just to get back in the swing of school. It is so weird to be back on a campus but super rewarding at the same time.
So hubby is away at his second job... I hate and love it at the same time. I hate that we are apart and get nervous that he is okay but I tend to like time by myself too... then of course when he gets home we are always so lovey dovey... gross.
At least I have work to keep me busy. If I was home right now... I would be climbing the walls.
The picture above was taken at the Cheaptrick, Poison, Def Leppard concert. We went the night before I started my job... crazy right. YUP! Great time though and worth it. If you look closely you can see the ear plugs that I had to wear so that I could hear the next day.


What a long strange trip it's been...

I got the job! I am so excited and proud to tell you that I am now a member of the president's office at the University of Hartford. I am the new administrative assistant and coordinator of public programs. Whoo Hoo!
The trip has been long and hard and worth it. I can't thank you all enough for EVERYTHING! You have been there for me through the thick and thin and for that I owe you.
My hubby has been my biggest cheerleader by far. Babe, I really am so grateful that I have you, constantly cheering me on, encouraging me to take my time and be confident. Even when I cried thinking that this would never end you were there to pick up the pieces and remind me that however long it took we would be in it together and stronger for it. Thank you and I love you.
Mom, Subey (my sister) and family... have been so great to me, treating every lunch and keeping my spirits up with pedicures and daily phone calls, pep talks when I felt like I had really reached the end of my rope. I am the luckiest of all to have you as my foundation and my support system.
Friends (whom I am so lucky to have and couldn't possibly name you all here because there are so many of you) that have made numerous calls, emails and letters on my behalf for jobs and connections and opportunities, and to just check on me; I am continually amazed at the lengths that people will go. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people on my team, thank you all for your support and campaigns on my behalf.
I start Wednesday (yup, day after tomorrow). I've been home for so long that I felt that starting mid-week might be the best way to ease into it.




This has been (so far) a great week. Starting last Saturday when we got together with some of my favorite peeps to celebrate a birthday. We celebrated with TONS of food... there were turkey blt wraps, ham and cheese puffs, bread and sauce for appetizers. Pulled pork and smoked beef ribs and sausage, orzo pasta salad, tomato and cucumber salad and for dessert chocolate cake. Needless to say I was stuffed. Sunday I had the distinct pleasure of having out of state peeps over for lunch. Judy, Jeff and beautiful baby Olivia came over for some long awaited hang time. I haven't seen them since before the holidays. Olivia (above) has gotten so big and it was so nice to spend some time with her parents too! I am gonna have to plan a trip to Maine for later in the Summer. After they left I headed to my sisters house to babysit while she went to the EMHE wrap up party. I had a great time with the kids and a not so great nights sleep in my niece's bed. Man that thing is tough. But it is always fun to wake up with the kids and make a big breakfast and just hang out. The picture below is Julianna and Robbie washing the dishes (they did it without anyone asking). I came home later Monday afternoon just not feeling great. I could tell that I had a cold coming on and spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday resting and sneezing and coughing. Today I am feeling great and ready for the weekend.
Some news: Bad news: I had a trip planned to Italy (with my nephew and friend) and it is now canceled. These things happen. I was so honored that my family was going to treat me to this trip and I was going to get to spend some time with my nephew traveling around Italy, but sadly the plans fell through and it is not happening.
The good news: I hate to jinx it but I had a great 2nd interview today and I am a final candidate for a GREAT job... keep your fingers crossed.


Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Is here in CT. My sister and her biz are sponsors for this amazing show and charity. I love watching the show and always wondered what it took to "get one of these done".
I had the amazing opportunity (thanks to my sister and brother in law) of visiting the site as a VIP. All I can say is that is was WAY cool and amazing and awe inspiring and muddy. Here is the story as I know it.
It is all about timing; one month to draw the blue prints and get the specs for the house, 106 hours to build it, 1 day to move out, demolish and and cart away the debris. They had a VIP party for the sponsors with dinner and DJ and everything. We got there at about 6pm... well back up a minute. We had to park a few miles away at a parking lot, shuttle bus to the site which only takes you three blocks away from the actual house. We walked by all kinds of equipment, the design tent, lots of porto pottys and then to the actual house. We were in a tent across the street. The whole neighborhood is enveloped by this endeavor... all the neighbors are involved if only because huge trucks are parked on their lawn. When we arrived the foundation was already set and the floor was down; by the time we left about 4 hours later the whole first floor was up... walls and everything. They work so FAST. We didn't get to see any "celebrities" but we got to meet the builder/ saint and some producers.
Before we left we got some photo passes and got to cross the volunteer threshold and go onto the actual build site... so very cool. We talked to one guy that said that a house like this could actually take up to a year to build. All the inside stuff for the house was already on a truck waiting already mostly assembled. Can't even begin to imagine what it takes to be a project manager on the project like this. CRAZZYY.
So enjoy the pics and I will let you know when it airs.
Huge kudos and applause to all those involved especially my peeps; Robert Charles Photography: Susanna, Ed, Bob, Leah and everyone else. Thanks again for including us!


Hapy Father's Day

It's soggy and rainy and not such a splendid day today, but a good a day as any to honor our Fathers. Mine is my Mom. She has been there for me as a Mom, Dad, friend, travel companion, psychologist, cheerleader... you name it she has done it for me. So on this day (and every other day) I honor her! To the other Dad's in my life... the uncles, family friends and various people like teachers and bosses that have either knowingly or not gave me some nugget of advice and helped me along; today I honor you. AND to the Fathers in my life... I also honor you! Lots of honors being handed out today; I hope you all have a great day despite the sogginess... at least you don't have to mow today :)



Dinner and build a bear

On Sunday we had some friends over for dinner. I had some pineapple and pork and wasn't sure what I wanted to make, and came across this recipe.
Chili-rubbed pork kebabs with pineapple salsa. All I can say is yum yum yum. The salsa is almost spicier than the kebabs. Here is the recipe:
1 pineapple, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespons olive oil
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons chili powder
4- 6 ounce boneless pork loin chops, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used pork tenderloin)

Heat a grill to medium-high. Grill the pineapple slices for 2 minutes per side. Cut into small dice, discarding the pieces of core. In a bowl, combine the pineapple, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, pepper, 1 teaspoon of the oil, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside. Combine the chili powder and the remaining teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Add the pork and the remaining tablespoon of oil and toss to coat. Thread the pork onto skewers. Grill the kebabs, turning ever 2 minutes, until cooked through, about 15 minutes total. Serve the kebabs alongside the pineapple salsa. Enjoy.
This was a delicious Summer dinner.
Yesterday I joined my mother, sister and the two youngest kids and our family friend and her daughter at build a bear. Never before had I witnessed such a thing. Crazy I tell you. The kids had a great time and we went out to eat at a new restaurant at the mall. We were all impressed. I had risotto and salad and although the risotto was a little oily the lunch was great. The kids got mac and cheese and pizza and the servings were huge.
Not much else to report these days. Just finished a great book... Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. Really great read and I recommend it to anyone. Unless of course your are afraid of the circus or elephants.



Summer is right around the corner

The days are getting long and hot, shorts and flip flops are the daily uniform.
Hubby is counting the days til school gets out. You can smell the charcoal and gardens in the air. Everyone is planning their getaways. Ahhh... the sounds and smells of Summer. Lovin' it!
Been kinda quiet round here... just the way I like it. No noise = no problems.
I've been visiting and getting together with folks and that is always fun. Lunch with Hana was soul soothing. Pizza with D,D,D and H was fun fun fun and fun! Spending the day running around with my sister and the kids to swim meets and soccer games and free ice cream was oh so tiring but oh so fun. Trip to Cabela's with Ed and Bridget was ... well... what can I say about Cabela's... hmmm. The company was great! :) Playdate with Leah is always just what I need even if I was a space cadet. The coffee date with my cousin and her kids was a blast. It never ceases to amaze me what an amazing family they are! The kids are adorable and my cousin is a sweetie. We don't get together often but when we do it is always a treat.
So... plans anyone... I know there was a bbq coming up either Fri night or Sat that I might crash... book-club ladies. I've been wanting to get out and see Ali and the kids... anyone else up for a visit?
The pic at the top is a gift that hubby brought home from his recent trip to Maryland... he was right... I have been crabby! The other pics are self explanatory!


Lazy weekend

Not much to report over the weekend. Relaxed and hung out at home... A LOT. Feeling kinda crummy and homebody-ish... ya know.
Today hubby and I went to Mom's for lunch and had a great time hanging with them. We had lofty plans to go to the movies but I really just wasn't up for it. I slept really late this morning and felt the afternoon yawns coming on! :)
Next couple of weeks are pretty quiet... then hubby is home from school for the SUMMER. AGH! Just kidding. Looking forward to it. We are already planning hikes and bike rides and maybe a road trip... We'll see what happens.
No new pictures to post... :( Don't be sad... I'll work on it for the next week or so.
I thought about photographing the frozen yogurt that I just made but it would be a picture of white liquid in a bowl and then the ice cream machine churning. I will be sure to take a picture of me enjoying the yogurt and post that... :) In the meantime I will tell you how I made it...

Vanilla Honey Frozen Yogurt
2 cups of plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups of light cream
2/3 sugar (or honey)
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

Start by lining a colander with wet paper towels or cheese cloth, then put the yogurt in it and put the colander in a bowl. The yogurt needs to drain all the excess liquid so you can add the cream and not make the liquid to thin. (hope that makes sense) Put the whole thing in the fridge to drain; will take 2 or so hours.
I should have started out by saying that you HAVE TO HAVE an ice cream machine. The bowl of it should be frozen. I keep mine in the freezer all the time so that on days like today when I decide at the last possible second (because the whole process takes a couple of hours) at least I don't have to wait for the bowl to freeze.
When the yogurt seems pretty thick (almost soft cheese like) take it out and transfer to a bowl, add the sugar and whisk until dissolved (unless you use the honey, than mix until well incorporated). Add the cream and vanilla and mix until ... well mixed.
Bring out that frozen bowl, set up the machine and start it then add the mixture. Should take about 20 or so minutes until soft serve consistency, put into a freezer safe container and put in the freezer. If you want to add a mix-in... wait until semi-frozen and then add whatever you want and let the machine mix it in before you finish. You can eat it at the soft serve consistency but it melts so fast. Best to freeze for a couple of hours or until it is calling to you! Enjoy.
I super duper love the tang of the honey and yogurt in this dessert. So delicious. Today I used greek yogurt and yummy native raw honey from a friend.

Ok peeps... that is all for now.



May Book Club

Last night was our monthly book club meeting and I hostessed. We had a great time and a great turnout! For dinner we had tomato and goat cheese tarts, tortellini pesto and a huge yummy salad. The tarts were such a big hit (thanks to my sous chef Jenn and my MIL that provided the recipe) here is the recipe.

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
1 pkg (2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
Olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves cut into slivers
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (I used dried)
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 ounces shaved with a peeler (didn't do this bit)
4 ounces garlic and herb goat cheese (I used regular)
1 large tomato cut into 4 slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves (I used freeze dried)

Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11 -inch square. Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. (I objected greatly to this. This recipe calls for 4 tarts from 2 sheets... I had 8 women coming over so I didn't discard any of the pastry and cut 4 squares from each sheet and continued on...)
Place the pastry on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15- 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture left in the pan. Add 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and the thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from heat.
Using a sharp pairing knife, score a 1/4 inch border around each pastry. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each pastry staying in the border.
Place 1/4 (or the onions divided into however may pastries you have) of the onion mixture on each, again staying in the border. Crumble 1 ounce of the goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper. Finally scatter 4 or 5 shards of the shaved Parmesan cheese on each.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve hot or warm.

Super delicious! Wish I took pictures they looked so great.



I am usually a very smiley person.
These are the things that have made me smile lately.
• bottom crust
• movie date with my hubby
• DeLish turkey burgers with potato salad
• walking round the neighborhood and remembering for the millionth time that I love my house
• Summer plans
• coffee dates
• BBQ with friends
• the bomb BBQ sauce
• having an in depth discussion about the merits of having a go-to cocktail vs. straight liquor on the rocks
• having and loving my long locks
• spending so much time with my family and still finding 10-15 minutes worth of conversation on the phone
• book club is this week... at my house!
• plans for the week and upcoming weekend
• you!

(This is an old picture but we are all pretty smiley)


May Days

Gosh it is gorgeous outside. I have never been one to worship the sun but it is so hard not to on these gorgeous days. So I take my coffee and a book out and soak up the rays. I really believe that it helps my mood. :)
Been spending tons of time with the family lately. Juju bean had her 6th birthday this past weekend and before that it was mother's day and before that my sister's birthday... lots of visits up North. I also attended Kyle's soccer game this week. Lots of fun.
No news on the homestead. Hubby is itching for Summer vaca. Counting down the days with the kids. Not quite sure what we will do home together for the Summer... lots of hiking and bike riding I hope. Picnics and daytrips... yeah! Really looking forward to it. Unless of course, miracle of all miracles a job works out for me... We'll see. Trying to stay positive but it really is hard. If one more person tells me not to worry because a lot of people are out of work I may just SCREAM. Consider yourself warned.