Sunday, February 27, 2011


As is quite obvious by my lack of posts, things have been just a little crazy at work recently and blogging just hasn't made the top of my priority list! After some busy days at work, when I get home I'm ready to just relax for a bit!

Thankfully, Hubby & I had a fab weekend that also allowed for a little time to relax. We had dinner with the whole fam (my brother & sister-in-law were in town for the weekend) for belated birthday celebration for my brother. Hubby & I worked on improving our mental skills with a puzzle...I just love puzzles!

Saturday was a fun-filled day with a big win for the Missouri State Bears! Missouri Valley Conference Champions for the first time in the program's history! Such a fun afternoon with family!
The entire family, minus my sister-in-law...missed you Millie!

Boomer crowd-surfing in the student section

Rushing the floor after the big win!

My precious parents! They have season-tickets and have been so generous to buy some extra tickets for Nick & I! We're loving going to the games!

Coach Cuonzo Martin soaking up the excitement

The sign says it all!
Saturday night we finished off a great day with dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and a movie. We watched Unknown, definitely highly recommend this one!
We had a typical Sunday with church, nursery duty, some work outside, and small group! I can't believe it's already time for another week. We're implementing some major technology changes in the next month so my blog will probably be a little lacking....but not to worry, I'm still here!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Long Weekend Rewind

Oh how I love 3-day weekends! There's something about coming to the end of a Sunday evening and knowing that you don't have to go to work the next day!

We've certainly enjoyed the weekend and thankfully we had beautiful weather with above-normal temps the entire time! Friday night was girls' night and these are always special...if for no other reason than spending an evening with the women who are nearest and dearest to me. We opted for fondue and drinks at a local place & it was a fabulous evening. Cheese fondue for dinner followed by chocolate fondue for just doesn't get much better!

My girls...Amy, Andrea, myself, Bethany, Jacinda, & Andrea

Besties old & new...Soon-to-be mama Jacinda & Andrea
I honestly don't know what life would be like without these women who I'm able to be authentic with and able to truly do life with. I can be my crazy self but I also have a group of godly women who are first on my list to call if I have a need. God always knows what he's doing, but putting us all together is an incredible blessing and one that I will be grateful for my entire life.
Saturday was work for both Hubby & I in the morning and then some relaxation before a big surprise party for my sister-in-law. Her 30th birthday was on Saturday and with a lot of little white lies, a room-full of princess decorations and a crowd of family & friends, my mother-in-law really managed to surprise her. It was a great evening devoted to celebrating a woman who for the most part doesn't ever get enough credit for all she does!
It was a princess party...complete with princess hats!

The birthday girl pulling up to the party...we were all outside on the porch! Think we might have surprised her?

Love this shot! She was so surprised at all the people who were there! There were definitely a few lies told! The costume is a story all in itself...not sure how Dustin fully convinced her to put it on, but I think it had something to do with him wearing a pink tie so she had to wear her Madragal Medieval costume!

She even had a tiara...Jackson decided to wear it for a bit but DID NOT want his photo taken!

Yummy, yummy cake. It was yellow cake with raspberry filling!

The birthday girl!

Sunday was a fairly laid back day with church, lunch, & some quality time with my mother-in-law. We drove all around the area trying to scope out some places for them to live once they retire back to Missouri! I can't wait for them to be here full-time!

Yesterday I was off work so it was a nice extension of my weekend. I ran several errands, watched a movie at home, and then we had dinner with some great friends. They have XBox was our first time playing and I WAS EXHAUSTED!!! Who needs a workout when you have that?

It's back to the real world today, it's been crazy around here already...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday Loves

My blog has definitely been getting the shaft as of recently. I'm still lacking in motivation to post, me, I'm still seeing everything in my Reader but life has just been a little busy lately! However, I've got some things I'm loving today!

It's 71 degrees outside right now. We have the screen open on the backdoor of our office and it's so nice to smell the fresh air, listen to the birds chirping, and hear the wind blowing. I fully realize Spring won't last forever, but it's so nice to see temps like this in the middle of February!

Nick is a huge fan of Oreos so for Valentine's Day I made Homemade Oreos! They were so yummy and definitely a big hit for my icing, loving husband! Thankfully, these are almost gone! We don't do well when sweets are kept around the house!
Tomorrow night is GIRLS NIGHT!!! The girls from my small group finally found a night when we could all get together & I'm so excited! We are headed to a local fondue place for fondue & drinks! See that drink below...yeah, that's what I'm having! It's delicious...a crushed Nerd rim & a blow-pop to finish things off!
And finally...Aloha Maui! Hubby & I have booked our vacation for the year. We'll be leaving fairly soon after tax season says goodbye for another year and we'll be spending 7 nights and 7 days in Maui! I've been to Maui one time a few years ago with my family, and I can't wait to experience all of Maui's beauty with my husband! We've got our flights, rental car, & accomodations it's just time to figure out some details! I'm so excited!

image courtsey of Orbitz

Monday, February 14, 2011

my favorite

On this Valentine's Day and every other day I can't even believe how much God has blessed me with this man. Life hasn't been the same since he walked into my life and I can't imagine living each day with anyone else!

Happy Valentine's Day to my husband, my best friend, and my favorite...I love you!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Snow,'s Going Away!

In addition to some really fun weekend activities, the weather has been absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, with 10+ inches of snow still on the ground we haven't really been able to take advantage of the warm temps like I had wanted to...but at least the snow is melting away quickly!

Hubby & I have had a wonderful weekend! Friday night we thought we only had time for a quick dinner before Beauty & the Beast, so we stopped at a local sandwich shop. Fortunately, that ended up being a bit quicker than we needed so we took advantage of the extra time and stopped in at The Cup for a little bit of dessert...or I guess a LOT of dessert!

I took advantage of their seasonal selection the Ruby...strawberry & red velvet swirled cake topped with raspberry cream cheese icing and a sugary heart! OH my goodness this was so delicious! Nick opted for his standard, double chocolate...chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing and sprinkles. Doesn't get much better than that!

After our sugar rush, we headed to the show and I was definitely entertained. Thanks to my parents' being season ticket holders, we had great seats on the orchestra level right in the middle. Beauty & the Beast is one of those productions that I know so well that I want to sing along...of course I'm sure everyone around me was glad I kept those notes to myself. It was a great show & even more fun to watch all the little girls be all excited for the theater!

Saturday was a morning at home for me, which has turned into the weekly time for laundry, grocery shopping, etc. I was more than surprised when Hubby walked in the door with these!

Yes, I fully realize that red roses are cliche' on Valentine's Day...but I still absolutely LOVE getting them!

We really wanted to try a new steakhous in Branson, but that just wasn't feasible with tax season & Valentine's Day falling on a weeknight. So...we chose to have our fancy Valentine's Day dinner out on Saturday evening & we were able to have a perfect, relaxing dinner. Level 2 Steakhouse is located at the Hilton on Branson Landing and we were definitely impressed. Every aspect of the meal was great, and we'll definitely be back. The restaurant even features a "knife presentation" where you can choose your own steak knife...and after your 5th visit they engrave the knife with your name for you to use on each return visit. It may take awhile but I'm sure Hubby is counting on having an engraved knife at some point in the future!

Love dining out at fancy places with my husband! We both definitely appreciate a good meal!

The meal was wonderful, but dessert certainly deserves it's own photo. Recently our local magazine, 417 Magazine, highlighted the best chocolate desserts in the area. Nick & I both LOVE chocolate cake and the cover story was about the cake at Level 2. Of course we couldn't have dinner without ordering the cake! However, nothing prepared me for the dessert that was going to be placed between us!
7 layers of moist, chocolate cake with alternating layers of chocolate ganache, raspberry, and white chocolate cream. Let me also say that we brought more than half of this dessert home and there were several couples walking out with to-go bags that I can only imagine also contained most of this dessert! It was incredible, but definitely the biggest piece of cake I've ever seen!
Today after church we've enjoyed a lazy Sunday afternoon. I love being able to relax on Sunday as we get ready for a new week. Top off the night with small group and it's been a pretty perfect weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I had big plans to write up a nice long post about something of substance, but that just didn't happen. So today all I've got is a list of random thoughts to document my fairly uneventful week.
  • This week I actually had 3 new recipes in my sights...2 entree's and 1 side dish. First, I fixed Pizza Stuffed Chicken from a recent Paula Deen magazine. This was really easy & really I like to tell myself it was fairly healthy! I served this with Roasted Asparagus from none other than PW...Hubby even liked this so it was definitely a success! And finally, last night I fixed Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos. Another success! These will all probably be put on the regular rotation at our house!
  • For those of you with kids, or husbands who act like children, the Taquitos bring the opportunity for a fun game when they're out of the oven. Simply blow on one end and steam will come out of the other...of course, please don't blow too hard or the chicken/cheese mixture will be blown all over the table. And yes, I most definitely am speaking from experience!
  • I think the heated mattress pad is one of the best inventions ever made, with these below-zero temps it's so amazing to get into a nice warm bed.
  • I started on Week 2 of Couch 2 5k last night. I'd been sticking with Week 1 because my running had been so sporadic with the weather. I'm still having doubts on running a 5k in a few months, but for now I'm sticking with it.
  • I've been in a blogging rut lately, while I still look forward to blogging; I've been a terrible commenter. Work has been really busy & when I'm at home I hate to sit around on my computer all night. Anyone else having this issue?
  • Today the high is going to be near 25, 35 tomorrow, 45 on Saturday, and 55 on Sunday...with possible 65 degree temps next week. Seriously?!? I mean seriously?!?
  • I can't wait for the weekend, it promises to be fabulous! Warmer temps, Beauty & the Beast tomorrow night, & an early Valentine's Dinner in Branson with my Hubby on Saturday. Glorious!

Stay warm everyone...the forecast looks like it's gonna improve for everyone in the midwest very, very soon!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blogger Bookclub: Ape House Ch. 1-12

The online bookclub, Book Beginnings & Bookends, has started back up and it's time for a review of this week's reading assignment. Just a little sidenote, we just started back up so if you're interested in joining on the button below and link up!

Our first book of the new year is Ape House, by Sara Gruen. I should preface this by saying that I haven't read her first bestseller, Water for Elephants, so I went into this book with absolutely no preconceived notions or expections. So far I'm really enjoying this book and I'm also trying to follow the rules of only reading a certain amount of the book each week...I think that's the hardest part! So...onto the discussion questions.

1. What was your initial reaction to the idea of a language lab with bonobos who are capable of having conversations with humans?
~I certainly wasn't opposed to this idea, I was assuming in the beginning that bonobos were a type of monkey but I'd never actually heard of them before reading this book. As with most everyone else, it seemed that the monkeys were being treated incredibly well and in some cases treated better than humans.

2. Isabel said early in the book that the apes know they're apes and know that the humans are humans, but they don't see any superiority with either... What do you think the major difference is between the two?
~I think that while each species can understand who they are, and that they're not the same as the still boils down to who has control. While the monkeys certainly didn't want to be sold to another owner, it still happened. Of course, there are many instances where humans lack control of circumstances as well...but all in all, it's humans who are controlling the destiny of the apes. As much as they might want to manipulate and control their day-to-day activities, in the end most humans are still going to consider them exactly what they are...animals.

3. What are your thoughts on John and his feelings toward Isabel? How do you think their relationship will play out?
~I got a bad vibe about this relationship from the very beginning. It's perfectly acceptable for two people of opposite sex to respect each other for their knowledge and abilities...and completely another to become infatuated with that person. I'm hoping their relationship won't move forward into anything but a professional one...but I have a feeling this won't be what happens in the end.

4. How do you think Isabel will respond to the apes being taken?
~I'm thinking she's gonna freak! The book has yet to indicate any other family members, and even when she needs help she calls on Celia. So...I think the apes are the only family she has. Her fiance' is there but obviously doesn't have the same passion about the apes that she does.

5. Do you think Celia is part of the team that ambushed the learning center?
~I'd like to hope not, but all the timing certainly lines up against her. However, I'm hoping that this was simply a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time...or in her case, not being in the right place to prove her innocence!

6. What are your thoughts on John and his relationship with Amanda?
~I think they certainly love each other...but do they love each other enough to survive Amanda's depression? She is viewing herself as a failure in her professional life and I think all too quickly she'll feel like a failure in their marriage if something doesn't happen very fast.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Birthday Weekend Rewind

Well, all in all, 28 definitely isn't so bad. I had a wonderful weekend filled with lots of fun times and lots of gifts!

The snow began to fall again on Friday afternoon. This time it was beautiful since the wind wasn't blowing too terribly hard! The flakes were huge and it piled up really fast! I think all in all we ended up with another 3" or so.

With the snow falling, so we were slightly delayed in getting to our dinner reservation. Thankfully it wasn't a huge deal, and I had a fabulous dinner with Hubby & my parents. Flash-fried spinach & calamari for appetizers, a perfectly cooked filet, and creme brulee for dessert...heaven!

We drove through the beautiful snow and came back to our house for the most important part...Presents! I had several packages from my parents & my traditional birthday box from my in-laws. I am so incredibly blessed! I hadn't really asked for much, just a request for nothing long sleeved...I'm ready for Spring! My mom and dad bough tme several items from Apricot Lane Boutique (a store similar to Francesca's) and my in-laws filled a box with more wrapped boxes from Francesca's! It was definitely a birthday filled with clothes & shoes, which really couldn't make this girl any happier!

I'm in love with this photo from my new camera! Thanks mom!

My birthday package from the in-laws! It just makes me smile when I get this in the mail!

I think that's a look of joy as I open a fun pair of Antonio Melani peeptoe pumps!

My dad took advantage of some leftover bows & put one around the neck of my boy Bogey...I'm not thinking he really liked this all that much.

Saturday was a free morning for me while Nick was at work, but I got busy cleaning & picking up the house. I am such a neat-freak when it comes to organization and the crazy weather from last week left our house a mess. Not to mention all the white/yellow dog hair that filled our floors from Bogey spending LOTS of time in the house! I'd just about had it so I grabbed my vaccuum & my Swiffer & got busy. I don't even want to think about the amount of hair I collected! Ughhh...I don't think I could ever handle a full-time house dog!

Saturday afternoon was another Missouri State Bears game, thankfully we pulled out a was ugly, but a win's a win! After the game, Nick & I made a few quick stops and then headed downtown for fondue & drinks. We opted for a mexican cheese fondue for dinner, followed by white chocolate raspberry dessert fondue. YUM!

Please forgive the "through the screen" photo...but I couldn't get a good angle. Apparently Bogey loved the snow so much he decided to take a nap in it! Silly boy!

Sunday was a very full day with church, a baby shower for my best friend from high school, and then my birthday/Super Bowl party at my parents' house! I failed to take any decent photos at the baby shower, I think all the cuteness might have had me distracted. After the shower, Hubby, Bogey & myself headed down to my parents' for the annual Superbowl gathering. It's just a small group of family & friends, but I love it! If you want to watch the game you can or if you want to sit and chat there's the right amount of people to do that as well. We had all the wonderful bad-for-you food and enjoyed a good football game with those people we love the most!
Me with my cupcakes...chocolate w/ cream cheese icing, & strawberry w/ strawberry icing! Delicious! My dad is responsible for the decorating, always the creative one!

More Antonio Melani shoes...this is the store brand for Dillards and probably my favorite brand of shoes, so comfortable & stylish for work!

My friend Dawson helped me blow out the candles...there's getting to be a lot of candles on my cake!

Definitely nothing to complain about from my birthday weekend...except for the fact that we still have snow on the ground and they're calling for 1-3" more later this week. I so enjoy spending time with my favorite family & friends and that's just what I got this weekend. I also ate way too much...using the excuse -that it was my birthday weekend, I can do what I want! Hopefully our community center will be open again tonight so I can get back to my running routine!

Friday, February 4, 2011

It's Birthday Weekend!

It's time for a party!
Today is my 28th birthday and while I'm at work today, the weekend has lots of fun things planned! Dinner tonight with Nick & my parents, a Missouri State Bears' game on Saturday afternoon followed by fondue on Saturday night, church on Sunday morning and then a Superbowl/Birthday party at my parents' house on Sunday afternoon evening!

The day already started off great with a couple of great presents from Hubby...a new dress from Apricot Lane & a new point and shoot Canon camera. I've got my big Canon Rebel but I've been wanting something smaller that I can toss in my purse for random photos ops! Love it!

Woohoo! It's gonna be a fabulous day...even with all the snow still around & more snow in the forecast!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blizzard 2011

Well, it's day 2 of Blizzard 2011. The snow has stopped here and the winds have died down, but the conditions are less than ideal. We've got highs today in the single digits with windchills below zero. Nick headed out to work this morning and just called to say he made it safely. With the high winds, the snowplows couldn't keep up so while the roads are snow-covered, there's actually quite a bit of traction from the ruts & unevenly packed snow. I'll be heading to work shortly, my goal is to be there around 10...we'll see how that goes.
We both enjoyed a snow day at home yesterday. The conditions weren't terrible when we got up, but they drastically got worse as the day went on. It was a first for us, with snow days from work not being all that common. We spent the day lounging around, catching up on the DVR, and trying to keep warm. It was so nice to be able to stay home and not worry about getting out in the treacherous weather!
It started sleeting here overnight and transitioned here into snow about 7:00 am. It snowed...
and it snowed...

and it snowed!
Finally, a little after lunchtime we got a small break & we all headed outside to play in it for a bit. Nick spent most of his time trying to clean off Bogey's patio & our driveway.

Nick wanted to have a snowball fight with Bogey, but I think Nick definitely had the upperhand!
Bogey still wanted to play fetch, even with 7-8" of snow on the ground.
We then headed out to the frontyard, hoping to maybe get started on clearing the driveway. The front looked just as bad as the back, with snow starting to drift and creating some really deep areas!

Our front patio, definitely a little snow-covered.

Our snow angel from the last storm volunteered to come over and help Nick clean the driveway. Our precious neighbor has a snow-blower and it worked incredibly well to clear most of the snow away. It was amazing how much snow was filling our drive!

How about that plume of snow?!

Using the snowblower, was definitely a lot easier than trying to shovel the entire thing.

Unfortunately, after the driveway was mostly cleared, the winds came & the snow started to fall again...and the snow began to fill all those cleared areas. However, I'm still really glad we got a headstart on it because otherwise the drifts would have been hard to manage.

We brought Bogey out into the front yard to play with the kids & our neighbor's dog Bella...he had a fabulous time and was definitely ready for a nap when we came back inside.

We made the decision early on to stay inside and not venture away from the house, but by the time dinner came we were going a little stir crazy! Domino's Pizza was open so we loaded up & headed out to pick up pizza & Dr. Pepper for dinner! Definitely a good decision. On our way home, I noticed a puppy running down one of the side streets and it definitely looked the little guy was someone's pet. Nick pulled over and called out to the dog, and he promptly came right to our car. Thankfully he had a nametag with a phone number & Moose was quickly reunited with his owner. Apparently he had followed him off when he went out for a drive! I'm so glad we came along, the poor little guy would have been frozen after the cold temps last night!

The sun is shining in our windows this morning, but I'm not counting on any major melting for several days! It seems that most of the country is dealing with heavy, heavy snowfall & ridiculously cold temps! Thankfully, Mr. Punxatawney Phil didn't see his hopefully an early Spring will be on it's way!

Oh and just in case anyone was wondering...My 28th Birthday...t-minus 2 days! Woohoo!