Monday, October 8, 2012

Funky Flashback: What Were We Thinking?

Welcome to the first installment of Funky Flashbacks! Here, I will play for you some of the most memorable songs from the 80's! For this first post, I would like to present songs that I now look back on and ask myself, "What were we thinking?!" I've chosen Milli Vanilli's "Girl You Know It's True" for one of the first tunes because it's simply just too funny! I used to love the song, but now that I look back at the video, it's hard to deny how unbelievably cheesy it is! The acting at the beginning is truly superb and the dancing? Well, it just speaks for itself! I love it!

Next, I present another, "What the hell was that?" song..."Whip It," by Devo. I liken it to a horrible train wreck -- It's completely disturbing, yet you can't look away...

And finally, a video in which I think I can only understand 2 words -- Nena's 99 Luftballoons. What in the world is she saying?!?! And why did we love it again?

New Projects!

So I've been a BAD blogger! It's been over a week I think since my last post! I have been so busy though. We had parent-teacher conferences this past week which lasted until 9:30 at night (!) and then we had a science fair later that week which kept me at work until 9:00! I was SO tired. I got today off though and got some much needed rest! While I should have been washing dishes and folding clothes, I decided to make some Christmas gifts instead! I found instructions online for how to make these cool "Exploding Boxes". While yes, I know, it sounds totally disgusting, I promise you it's not! (Get your mind out of the gutter!) It's a scrapbook photo album in a box. When you take the lid off of the box, there are layers of scrapbook pages inside with photos that fall open. I haven't put the photos inside yet since I'm going to give them to my friends for them to put their own photos in. I'm just making and decorating the boxes. Here are my first few...
Here's the outside of one...

And here's the inside...

Here is another one...

And the inside...

Here is the inside of one I'm making for myself. I've put a couple of pics from this summer in it. Still have a lot to do.

I want to do a couple more for a few friends. I also have to finish up my Christmas cards so I can get those mailed out soon! So much to do! I was hoping to do some of that this Friday, but my husband wants to be one of those crazy people who gets up at the crack of dawn to go shopping. I am so NOT a morning person, so this should be interesting! I decided to save some sleep time, maybe I should just sleep in my clothes. Then my husband said, "Yeah! That'll be great. Then all you have to do is wake up and find your way to the car!" So then I decided, hey -- that's another step I can skip. I'll just sleep in the car! Then my husband suggested skipping the whole morning drive and just getting their the night before and sleeping in the car. Then I can just wake up and be there! ...Or maybe not! :-) Wish me luck!

Adventures in Baking

After checking out a few foodies blogs, I've gotten the itch to do some baking. Trouble is... I am terrible at baking! Well... I guess I shouldn't say terrible. I can bake some pretty decent cookies, cupcakes, and muffins, but anything dough related -- LOOK OUT! I voiced my interest in learning to bake more on the Nest's What's Cooking forum and a lot of girls recommended this book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. (I ended up getting the book on Amazon for a crazy-good deal. The cover price is $40.00, but I bought through the Amazon Marketplace from some bookstore in PA -- brand new for under $9.00! Woo hoo!) Anyhow, I just received the book today and am already excited! Although, I think I gained about 7 pounds just reading about all the baked goodies! LOL!

So anyway, I also learned through the Nest forums about this blogging group called Tuesdays with Dorie. Every Tuesday, someone from the group chooses a recipe from the book for everyone to try and post about by the following Tuesday. I think this will be an awesome way for me to try different recipes that I may not ordinarily try AND get help from more experienced bakers while I'm doing it! (There is a Problems & Questions post each week for all participants to post about how it's going.) So anyway, all you have to do is a minimum of two of the four chosen recipes a month. You are supposed to blog about your experience too. I think it'll be fun! I emailed about joining the group, but the person who heads it all up is on vacation this week, so I won't officially be part of the group just yet, but that won't stop me from jumping right in! I already have a Tuesdays with Dorie (AKA TWD) avatar on my blog! And tomorrow I will start shopping for my first TWD adventure: blueberry pie! Wish me luck -- I've never baked a pie in my life and in case you forgot, this involves DOUGH! Dun, dun, DUUUUUUN!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

3.1 in "The Big One"!

The weather forecasters keep calling this storm, "The Big One"! I do have to say, this is easily the worst storm we've had all winter. The snow has been nonstop and the snow plows are nowhere to be seen. Doesn't matter too much anyway since our city, much like many others around here, are out of roadsalt. I heard one plow go by this morning, but since then, we've gotten 4 more inches and it just keeps coming. We are basically snowed in! That didn't stop me from trying to get some miles in though. I wanted to run 6.2, but with 4+ inches of snow on the roads, my ankles were starting to hurt just trying to keep from turning sideways, so I stopped halfways. It still took me almost 36 minutes! Oh well. Here is just a little sample of my little snow world!

Here are the roads I just finished running 3.1 on...

Here is a pic of our back deck covered in snow. Check out how much is on our table! (I took this pic through the window!)
It was a bitterly cold run at times, and those shoveling their driveways as I attempted to shuffle along surely thought I was insane. Once the wind stopped blowing though, it was truly serene. The snow gently falling on my warm cheeks, the silence in the air except for a few birds chirping and the snow crunching under my feet, the smell of burning wood in the fireplaces of the homes nearby...all worth it. Just wish I could've gone longer!

Lemon Blossoms 38, Me 10

I am getting together with some friends tomorrow and everytime we get together, we each bring a dish to share. Well after watching a Paula Dean show on Food Network the other day, I've been looking for an excuse to try these little lemon glazed cupcakes called Lemon Blossoms. She made it look super easy and when I read the reviews online, everyone wrote about how yummy and easy they were. I thought, SWEET! Every now and then though, I saw a review that said the recipe was terrible or that their cupcakes didn't work. I thought, "Wow, that person really must not know what they're doing. If everyone else is saying there super easy and you can't get to work, it must be you!" So anyway, I decided to get a jump start and make my Lemon Blossoms tonight so that I wouldn't have to worry about rushing to get them done tomorrow morning. Well, to make a long story short, you know that person I was thinking who must have no clue what they're doing if they couldn't get this to work? Yeah...that person is ME! What went wrong? Let me count the ways...

  1. I bought new silicone mini muffin pans today. I wanted to use the silicone ones because I've had success with things coming out fairly easy and the reviews said that these muffins can easily stick to the pan. Well then when I got home, I read the inside of the package and it said that the muffins pans still need to be sprayed with vegetable oil spray. UGH. So much for skipping that step. It also said that the pans should be set on a cookie sheet for increased stability. Okay, I can handle that. So anyway, I spoon the batter into my new muffin pans, set them on the tray and put into the oven. I check the oven after the directed 12 minutes and they don't quite look done. I give them a few more minutes until they look golden brown on the top. Then I take them out of the oven and attemp to turn the muffins out onto a towel (as directed in the recipe.) They were totally raw in the middle! So after a little thinking, I guessed that placing the pans on the cookie sheet was not a good idea. As has happened in the past for me, the cookie sheet prevents the muffin pans from getting the heat they need, hence the undercooked muffins. Solution -- lose the cookie sheet! So far though, Lemon Blossoms 24, Me 0.
  2. I then placed just one muffin pan in the oven, sans cookie sheet. After 12 minutes, they looked good so I pulled them out. The recipe says that after baking for 12 minutes to turn onto a towel. So as soon as I pulled them out, I attempted to turn them out. Yeah...they didn't move...anywhere. GRRR! It said in the recipe to go ahead and turn onto a towel after baking for 12 minutes. In my experience, I've always let them cool first, but the recipe didn't say that. I guess they just assume you have that basic knowledge. Yeah, I didn't. I'm a rule follower! You tell me to turn them out after baking for 12 minutes, and that's what I'm going to do! Oh well. My solution: Allow them to cool a little. Unfortunately, at this point, Lemon Blossoms 36, Me 0.
  3. My final try. I put the muffin pan in sans cookie sheet, baked for 12 minutes and then let them cool for 10 minutes. I turned the pan over and while they still didn't fall out, with some coaxing, I did get 10 whole cupcakes. WHOA! At least I had SOME success. I dunked the cupcakes into the glaze and will let my DH determine whether these thing are worth trying again. (They better be flippin' AWESOME!) At least I know what to do instead next time.

So anyway, instead of eating Lemon Blossoms tonight, I am eating my words! It turns out I'm the dummy who couldn't figure out this "easy" recipe! ;-p

Aside from my monumental baking failure, I've been feeling really good about my least mentally good! I went out for an 8 mile run on Sunday. I felt pretty good during the run. I had a little discomfort in my left knee, but nothing bad at all. I hardly noticed it during the run. It was all I could notice the next day though! It hurt a lot while I was trying to sleep that night and by the time I woke up in the morning, I could barely move it! The whole rest of the day, all I could do was hobble around! I decided running or working out at all was definitely out of the question. I iced before bed and took some ibuprofen also. I woke up this morning and actually felt pretty good! I took two more ibuprofen before my run to help minimize any potential inflammation and it totally worked! I felt great during my run today -- no pain and super energized, both physically and mentally! Instead of running the planned 3, I went 4.3 miles and it was a breeze. I iced when I came home and continue to feel pretty good! I hope to go out for 3.6 more tomorrow morning before my get together with friends. I'll run again Friday for hopefully 3 or 4 and then I plan to do 9 miles Sunday. I'm excited for Sunday too because that is when my local Fleet Feet is having their informational meeting about the training group for the half mary I want to do. I can't wait to hear about it! I really feel like I'm getting back on track with my running and I think this group will help me even more. Thank goodness my running is progressing more than my baking!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Got Some Good News!

I went back to see Dr. Craig (the chiropractor) on Saturday and I got some good news! First, after looking at my x-rays, Dr. Craig found NO problems with my knees at all! It turns out, the reason I am experiencing pain, is because of a problem in my lower back! You know those two little dimples you probably have on either side of your spine on your way lower back? Well, that is where your sacroiliac (SI) joints are. Apparently, one of mine is higher than the other. This imbalance kind of throws everything off and my knees are paying the price. (At least, I think that's what he said!) Anyhow, Dr. Craig said it should only take 6 weeks to totally correct! I will need 2 weeks of frequent adjustments to "teach" my joints where they are supposed to be, 2 weeks of a few more adjustments to keep the joints stabalized, and then 2 weeks of strengthening. What's better is that: 1) I can start back up with running today, as long as I start off this week with short mileage (2-3 miles) and 2) Dr. Craig worked out a plan with me to get me ready to run my 10 miler race in two weeks! He got me in for a few more adjustments over the next two weeks to speed up the process a tad. He says I should be good to go by April 26th for my big race! What a relief! And to top all that off, it looks like my insurance ROCKS! Because I was referred, Dr. Craig didn't charge me at all for my first visit, but he did charge my insurance. With the extra money the insurance sent him, my next 13 visits are totally covered! So about 4 out of my 6 weeks at the chiro will be FREE for me! Then, after that, each visit (including any massages I may want) are only $5! WHOA -- I should've done this a long time ago! Pretty cool!

Well, needless to say, I am very relieved! I just hope this all works.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Exploding Box #5

Here is the latest one I made. I'm trying to make a lot of different ones since I don't know which ones my friends might like. I figure I'll just let them pick and then whichever ones they don't want, I'll just keep for myself. Here is the latest one made with K&Company PP.

Here are the inside layers.

And here is a cute embellishment idea I'm trying. (This is on the blue/cream box I made awhile ago.) The charm I actually got in the jewelry section.