Friday, April 30, 2010


Once again, over a week has gone by and I have not posted anything!!! Time flies when you're having fun! :) Not that I have been having that much fun, but time is still flying. I have meant to post about this for a week, but haven't got it done! Last Friday night, I worked up the courage and finally got my first tattoo!!!! I have said for years that I would like to get one on my foot, but would never have the guts, well, I finally did it.

I am not going to lie and tell you that it felt good, but it honestly wasn't as bad as I expected it to be!

Here is my foot before, don't I have cute feet?! I painted my toenails pink so they would go with my new pink tattoo!

I was soooooo nervous! My stomach was in knots!

Here we are part way thru. I really think a bigger one would have been better, he had to do such short lines that by the time I was getting used to the pain he would stop and restart and it would hurt worse again!

My lovely and oh so helpful support group!! Yeah right, they just sat there talking and reading magazines and completely ignoring me! Thank goodness for my dear sweet friend Maggie holding my hand and talking me thru the process!

And the final product!

I absolutely love it!! It was extremely painful, but definitely worth it! It is at the really ugly peeling stage right now, but I think in a couple of days it will look great again!

I have a couple new cards that I have made the last couple of days, but don't have time right now to take pictures and upload and blog about them, so I will keep you in suspense!

Nick and I are headed down tomorrow afternoon to have a lovely relaxing evening at Honey Creek Resort and boating on Sunday! It will be so nice to get away for the night! Hopefully I will remember to take pictures to share with you!

I hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day!! The "green" movement has definitely became more and more mainstream over the last few years and I am slowly trying to jump on this bandwagon! I do try to be green, but I have a long ways to go! Here are some ways to be green:

1. Recycling
Several months ago I decided that Nick and I need to start recycling. Unfortunately Red Rock Rubbish does not offer recycling pick up in Oskaloosa, so I have to take it to the containers somewhere around town. We don't have a garage to put recycling bins in so I had to find something that would look extremely tacky in our house. I decided on a three bin laundry sorter and it has worked quite well. If only I would empty it more often!

2. Re-useable Shopping Bags
I have a few of these and try to remember to take them to the store with me, unfortunately, I usually forget these. If you sneak a peak under my kitchen sink and see the mounds of plastic bags you will see how often I forget these!

3. Gardening
Last year my dad and I built a raised garden bed and he was kind enough to bring his dump truck up with the perfect mixture of good black dirt mixed with a little cow manure. (Thank goodness for farmers!) It had to be the perfect mixture because you should have seen the size of my tomatoes last year!!! I think I could have won an award or something! Not only were they huge plants, but they produced tons of tomatoes! I can't wait for more fresh veggies! I plan on doing a post about my garden soon!

4. Bicycling
All last summer I told myself that I should really start riding my bike to work and guess what? I never did! Well, that will change this year, I WILL ride my bike to work at least a couple days a week! It is not that far from my house so there is really no reason not to. (And I don't particularly care if my hair is messy!) I drive a gas-guzzling F-150 so every little bit helps! I can also ride my bike to do easy errands like the library and the bank!

5. Buying Local
This is challenging in a small town, but can be done. Oskaloosa has farmers markets twice a week in the summer and fall. I have to be honest, I haven't been yet, but plan to go this summer.

Those are the first few that come to mind. If I think of anymore great ones I will let you know! If you think of any, you do the same!

So close to Friday!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Cleaning

I left work this evening and could not wait to get to the gym. Then I get to the gym and a half hour into my one hour cardio session I totally lose all interest in my workout and have no desire to be at the gym anymore. I hate it when that happens!! I did have ambition to do other things though, so I have been quite productive! I went to Wal-Mart for one of my seven weekly visits to the grocery store (someday I will stop doing that!) Then I came home and decided to tackle our disaster of a kitchen!! Our cupboards were a complete mess and I had to get them under control! I took some pictures because blogs are so much better with pictures!


I have seen it much worse than this, but nonetheless, it needed cleaned up and organized!! So about an hour later, my kitchen looked like this:

I feel like I have a brand new kitchen! Now if only I could take about an hour and make it a little bit bigger...hmmm!

I must be coming down with something, posting two days in a row??!! That is so unlike me! :) I'm turning over a new leaf!

Have quite a bit going on this week...Admin professionals day is tomorrow so a few of us will be going to the Peppertree for lunch, then we have our after tax season tomorrow night. Then Friday night I have something really exciting happening, I just can't tell you about it yet, you'll have to stay tuned for that! So I better get a good workout in Thursday night since I can't go Wednesday or Friday, oh well!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Sorry I have been MIA for awhile. When I started my blog I had the best of intentions of updating it every day or at least every other day. Yeah...that hasn't went so well for me. :) Oh well, maybe someday. For now, you get random posts now and then!

I have found several great healthy living blogs the last couple weeks (you can check them out in the right hand column) and on a few of them I have seen them talk about Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa) and had no idea what it was. I am sure I am not the only one that has never heard about it, so let me tell you a little bit about it.

Quinoa is actually a seed that originated in South America. The Incas referred to it as chisaya mama or the mother of all grains. Quinoa was of great nutritional importatance in the pre-Columbian Andean civilization, second only to the potato. In recent years quinoa has been highly regarded for its high protein content (12-18%) which makes it a great food for vegans, vegetarians, and athletes. It contains a balanced set of essential amino acids which makes it complete protein which is very unusual. Quinoa is also a great source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron.

After I read all of this, I thought I had to try it. I was absolutely shocked to find it in our little small-town Hy-Vee!! I figured I would have to order it online since we are not in a big city that has great health food stores. Hy-Vee has a surprisingly good health food section. Now, let me warn you before you get to excited and run to the store to buy is a bit pricey. The only brand they have is Bob's Red Mill Organic Quinoa and for a 26-ounce package it is about $10. That is a bit steep but, let me tell you, this stuff is delicious!!! I purchased a rice cooker at Wal-Mart and tried cooking it on Saturday evening. I cooked the quinoa in some chicken stock so it would have more flavor than when just ccoking in water and it was soooooo good! It is really fun to eat, it has a little crunch to it and it just makes you feel so healthy! I had some left over and actually tried it today re-heated with some pasta sauce and it was just as good left over as it was the first time!

A little more information if you do decide to try it: Check the package to make sure that it has been washed and is ready to be used. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin, which has a bitter taste and must be rinsed off before it can be used. I believe that most brands will probably be rinsed, but you will want to check the package to make sure. Also, quinoa is perishable, but will have a shelf life of about a year if you store it in an airtight glass or plastic container in the refrigerator. I put mine in a mason jar and labeled the day I opened it, but trust me, I will have no problem using it in a year!!

There are several recipes online if you google quinoa. I found lots that I can't wait to try! If you decide to give this little gem a try, let me know, I can't wait to see what you think!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Do you ever have one of those days where you just question everything? I sure hope I am not the only one! Today is definitely one of those days for me. It is like a battle in my head about everything in my life. The one thing that is and always will be a constant in my life, that I never question, is Nick. Everything else? I go back and forth with a hundred thousand times until I drive myself CRAZY! The thing I totally realize and have to tell myself frequently is that I am the only one that can control my happiness. I hate to be one of those people that complains about things when no one but me can fix them, but it's my blog, and that is what I feel like blogging about today. :)

My job...sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it. Is this really what I want to do with the rest of my life? How do you ever decide what you want to do with your life? What if I find something different and end up hating it even more? The fact that you spend more waking hours at your job and with your co-workers than you do at your home with your spouse and children makes this dilemma huge to me! I don't want to be one of those people that just does something for umpteen years just because. I want to do something I am totally passionate about, but what would that be? Exercising and trying to lead a healthy lifestyle? Yes, but is that something that is in high demand in Oskaloosa, IA, not so much. And if I spent all my time teaching other people the right moves to tone their buns and thighs, would I still enjoy toning my own? Who knows?! This could go on and on, so I will just move on to the next topic.

My house...sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it. It feels so childish to even complain about my house. Our house is a great starter home! I always have to stop and think back to what my parents had when they were my age, it wasn't nearly as nice as this! There are so many things that make me crazy about this house though! It has ZERO character!! I know that if I was some fantastic decorator then I could fix that, but I'm not!!! We've lived here for about 2 1/2 years now and it has never been just how I want it to be. The problem with putting a lot of time and money into it now is that we probably won't be there much more than 2 more years and what if those decor elements don't work as well in our next house? Silly dilemma I know, but I'm just putting it all out there!

Kids...I love babies and toddlers. 7-16 year olds...not so much! So will I eventually get over that when our kids are that age?? And I must say I have to agree with my husband that I think I would really rather it just "accidentally" happen then say, yep, we're really gonna try. Because really, are you ever totally ready? I mean I think I am ready and then I think, man, look how easy our lives are now? It will NEVER be the same again once we have children!! I spent 1 1/2 to 2 hours at the gym each day...will I be able to do that? Not as easily! We back up a cooler and a beach bag and head out on the boat for the entire day each Sunday when the weather cooperates. Will we be able to do that? Yes, but a lot more work and effort will have to go into it. I just fully understand that our lives are sooooooo simple now and that will change completely once we see that little plus sign on a stick.

I could go on and on and on about the battles that are constantly going on in my mind, but I have probably rambled enough. Although it is my blog, I do have that privilege, if you are bored, you can just stop reading. It feels good to express some of these things. My poor hubby gets really tired of listening I'm sure. It is just his nature to fix things, and as I said before I completely understand that these are things only I can change and do anything about!

Well, on a lighter note, it's FRIDAY!!!!! Only a few more days of tax season and then maybe I won't be surrounded by a bunch of grumps at work anymore!! :)

Happy Friday all!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

12 Weeks to Better Photography - Week 1

This is a free online course from Two Peas In A Bucket and it seems to be a great course for those just learning about photography. My hubby surprised me with my DSLR camera a few months ago so I could learn to use it before we went to Hawaii and that did not happen, so I am going to learn now! I can fumble my way through and get decent pictures, but I definitely want to learn more. Well, I am a little behind, I think they are on week 5 or 6 now, so I am going to try to be really ambitious and play catch up this weekend!

Lesson 1

The first lesson is all about Aperture. The size of the aperture determines the amount of light that enters your camera at one time, therefore affecting how much of your photo is in focus. Another term for aperture is f/stop, you will see them used interchangeably.

The wider the opening, the more light that enters your camera and vice versa. The thing that can be most confusing is that a wider opening has a lower f/stop. For example a low f/stop, such as f/1.4 is a wide-open aperture and a high f/stop, such as f/22, is considered a closed aperture. Tricky huh?

The assignment was to take three photos of the same fixed object at different f/stops.

Here is my first photo, which was taken at f/4.5 (this is the largest aperture I have on my camera)

As you can see, the only thing that is really in focus is the flower, the background is blurry, which is what we would expect from a fairly wide-open aperture.

This picture was taken at f/9.

Now, more of the shed is in focus.

The final picture was taken at f/29 (the smallest aperture on my camera)

And now everything, my ugly shed and all, are in focus!

Aperture is as simple as that!