Monday, July 21, 2014

A Box of Sunshine

So this isn't anything new, but I decided to tell you about my incarnation of this project. I originally saw it on Pinterest (shock!) and after a conversation with my older brother I decided now would be a good time to send one out. I enlisted the help of Mr. Incredible and off we went.

Let me start by saying that Greg was not exactly into the idea at first. I told him I needed to go to the party store to look for yellow stuff  for John and he just didn't get it. Once we got there and I let him talk me into a yellow mustache he kind of took off running. Here's what we ended up with:
A banana eraser, a paddleball, a super bouncy ball, flip-flop keychain, rubber duck, silly bands, the moustache, a noisemaker, lip whistle, pencil topper, pencil sharpener, pencil...
suction cup ball, slinky, Frisbee, helicopter thingie, barrel of monkeys (I was very excited about that one lol), ninja, Mario star, koosh ball, hand puppet eyes, kazoo, squirt gun...
Angry Birds gummies, Dasani water enhancer, sixlets, monster finger puppet, Laffy Taffy, M&Ms, gumballs, lollipop, Airborne, Sour Patch Kids, Lemon Heads, Juicy Fruit, Charleston Chews, suckers, Starbursts, and Nerds. Whew!

I also wrapped most of the box in some of the coolest duck tape ever!
I don't know about you, but if I got a box in the mail that was covered in Mac & Cheese duck tape, I'd be pretty excite no matter what was inside.

Then I loaded up the box,
wrote a note to my brother explain what this was,
I already had this stationery, I thought it worked well!
and addressed the box.
I was having fun with Pic Monkey.
I didn't want to be a total jerk and wrap the whole box in the tape. Although, I did cover the top pretty sufficiently with packing tape. At least he'll know the top from the bottom! I got it off in the mail first thing Saturday morning. He should get it sometime today.

I had way more fun than I anticipated putting this together. My partner in crime probably helped. Anyway, I highly recommend doing this for someone special in your life. And they don't have to live halfway across the country, you could totally just leave this on their doorstep or their desk. I'm already contemplating who else might get a box of sunshine. :-D

Edit: John got the box yesterday and I was rewarded with this picture. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Happy Friday!

We made it to the weekend! I hope you've all had a good week and are ready to enjoy your weekend. My week has been pretty tame so far. The most exciting thing I did was rearrange my desk area yet again. Shortly after I started this job, my bosses decided to rearrange my office area to make room for another person we were about to hire. I already share the space with 2 other people, so when we were trying to figure out where to put a 4th person we decided to completely swap everyone's seating arrangement. I moved from the middle to the front, and I have moved my stuff around at least 3 times since.
Let's see if this works!
Even though I was only at my old desk for about 3 weeks, I was liked the set-up. I'm having a hard time finding good flow for my area. I think this might work best. We'll see.

My weekend plans have shifted a little bit. I was originally supposed to meet my niece, Brittany, in Chattanooga to pick up my mom and Tony, but yesterday she discovered she has to work all day tomorrow. It's not a big deal for me, really. I've lost count of the number of times I've driven to Alabama and back in a day. I just feel bad for Bee since she seems really upset about missing out on the visit. I told her we'd make it up later.

I don't know what my other plans for the weekend include. Greg and I had been talking about going to a demolition derby, but it's drizzling and gross today so I don't really want to sit outside all evening. And I don't want to stay out too late since I have a long day of driving tomorrow (also in the rain... yay!). I found a project I want to do for my oldest brother, so I may go pick up the supplies for that tonight. Maybe I'll tell G that tonight is a pizza and video games night? Do you think he'll go for that?
Fighting is healthy for our relationship. ;-)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

16 Reasons

Anthony turns 16 today! I can't believe it. Half the time I still picture him as a 9-year-old. He loves that. This will be the first time since the day he was born that I will not be with him for his birthday. He's still in Alabama visiting our family down there. It bums me out a little bit, but he'll be back this weekend, so I'll make up for it then.

Since I still wanted him to have something from me on his birthday, I decided to write him a letter and tell him 16 Reasons I think he's awesome.
  1. He's kind.
  2. He's funny. He has fantastic, if not unintentional, comedic timing.
  3. He makes brave hair choices. This kid recently colored his bangs purple... which then faded to some weird blond/fuchsia combination. And he just rocked it like it was on purpose. #pinkhairdontcare
  4. He's super creative.
  5. He has great taste in music... mostly. I have an odd sense of pride hearing him listen to songs I loved in high school/college. But every once in a while he throws some weird wrench in there.  
  6. He is incredibly smart. Too smart for his own good at times, but still.
  7. He's laid back. It takes a lot to ruffle his feathers, which is insane when you realized he grew up with a powder keg.
  8. He can be really helpful.
  9. He likes to try new food. He is one of my few sushi buddies. Lord love him
  10. He's fun to hang out with.
  11. He's got an interesting view on the world. He definitely sees things differently than I do, which is not a bad thing!
  12. He has more confidence in me than I do. I used to make his birthday cakes every year. At first it was simple, but eventually there was Spider-Man, an aquarium, and a dragon. I called it quits before I had to figure out how to make a working Ferris wheel.
  13. He likes to have adventures.
  14. He's forgiving. Remember that powder keg he grew up with? Poor kid definitely got caught in the fallout more than he deserved. But he loves me anyway.
  15. He likes to learn new tasks. He may never use them, but he'll look stuff up just to know it. Kind of cool, really.
  16. He's committed. When he was little, he would pick what he wanted to be for Halloween next year on November 1, and he would not be swayed. One time he decided to be a vampire and refused to eat garlic for a solid year.
Obviously, there are more than 16 things I love about him, but it was fun to sit down an think about the reasons he's a great kid.
This is a collection of all the photos I shared
online for his birthday. It was fun. :-D

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New Restaurants

I have had quite the adventurous summer so far! In the past few weeks alone, I have gone to the lake, been kayaking twice, tried 5 new restaurants (and one new cuisine!), had fun mini-dates and all-day dates with G, and gone to a concert. Whew! I'm just trucking through my 30 at 30 list!

New Restaurants

I've tried 4 new restaurants with Greg and 1 with Amy and I have liked each and every one of them! See, this is why I needed to branch out!

The first restaurant Greg and I tried was The Egg & I. My mom went there with a friend a while ago and liked it, so one Saturday morning Greg and I decided to check it out. They are only open for breakfast and lunch, and we got there at prime brunch time. I got the Raspberry Granola Pancake. It was fantastic. I'm actually kind of drooling a little just thinking about it.

A few days later, we decided to visit Cazzy's Corner Grill.

Photo from Cazzy's Google+ page
We'd driven by a few times, and finally we decided to step in. I'm glad we did! I had the Cheddar Chutney Burger for a little sweet and salty flavor. I was impressed. Greg got the Smothered Chicken and said it was really good. I'm guessing so since all I got to try was a green bean!

The next stop on our culinary tour was Fulin's. This one is actually pretty close to Cazzy's. When they first opened there were dozens of little signs that said "Fulin's now open!" So the running joke with Greg and I was to say "no foolin'! Fulin's is now open!" Eventually we made our way in, though. It really doesn't look like much from the outside, so we were both surprised by how nice it was. I got the orange chicken and hot and sour and a split a sushi roll w/ G. Greg and I agreed that we'd go back and recommend it to people.

My last new restaurant with Greg was First Watch.
Like The Egg & I, it's only open for breakfast and lunch. I had to take a picture for Amy because they not only had hazelnut creamer on the table, but the also left the water and coffee carafes. Running out of beverages was not going to be a problem! I got the Chickichanga. As heavy as it looked, I really wasn't overstuffed when we left. And the fruit salad didn't have any cantaloupe (one of the few foods I don't like)! Winning!

My latest new culinary adventure was with Amy! We've both been saying we wanted to try Indian cuisine for about a year now and we finally did last night! We decided to check out Bombay Palace.
I was so impressed! They were pretty busy for a Tuesday, which is always a good sign with restaurants. As a matter of fact, we got the last open table. Our servers were all wonderfully attentive and the food was delicious! We'll definitely be going back!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Haphazard Deliciousness

I think I've mentioned a time or two how much I like to cook and feed people. It's one of my favorite things. That being said, I struggle to cook for just myself. I've been on my own for the past 2.5 weeks, and there has been a lot of eating out, random sandwiches, or just not eating dinner because I wasn't hungry and didn't feel like trying to figure it out. Not my proudest moment, but there you have it.

However, last week I found myself home alone on a Friday night and ravenous after mowing the yard. After a quick shower, I just started throwing things together until I got what might have been the most delicious meal I've had in a while.
I couldn't think of a real name for it, but it was so good I couldn't keep it to myself.

Haphazard Deliciousness
(serves 2ish)
     5-6 cherry tomatoes, halved
     4 mini sweet peppers, chopped
     3 button mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
     2 C raw baby spinach
     Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb, to taste
     2-3oz chicken breast, cubed and fully cooked
     3oz whole wheat Angel hair pasta, cooked and drained (I use Barilla)
     1 100-calorie pack Wholly Guacamole
     1.  Cook tomatoes and peppers in a large skillet over medium high heat.
     2. Add sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and chicken. Season with Mrs. Dash. Cook until spinach
     3. In a separate bowl, stir together pasta and guacamole.
     4. Add chicken/vegetable mixture to the pasta mixture.
     5. Enjoy!

*I had already cooked the mushrooms to make an omelet that never happened. Otherwise, I would cook those before the tomatoes and peppers.
* I also had pre-cooked the chicken for a salad and had some left over. I seasoned it with a Mrs. Dash Grilling blend.
* Next time I might add a second guacamole cup to make it a little saucier. ;-)
*Spicy guacamole would have be delicious here.
*It should have served 2, but like I said, I was ravenous after mowing the yard.

I got the idea for using the guacamole as a sauce after making an avocado pasta sauce a few weeks ago. It was a good decision. I will definitely be making this one again!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Random Acts of Kindness

Part of my 30 in 30 Challenge was to do more random acts of kindness. Just putting it on my list has helped me stop and think "what can I do in this situation to be more kind?" Unfortunately I don't think it all the time... I do get hangry and that monster gets the better of me sometimes! But I'm doing better.

The other day I stumbled across something on Pinterest and I thought I'd share it with you.
Click here for her ideas!
She has some great ideas! Some are big, some can be incorporated into your every day activities. Some of my favorites include compliment a stranger, pay for the coffee for the person behind you, be patient (I struggle!), don't be annoying, do a task someone else doesn't like but you don't mind, recognize the good in others, avoid gossip, spread the word, keep your bad attitude to yourself, tell your partner what a good hair/butt day they're having (this made me giggle so hard), and many more! There are lots of list like this out there, so if you're looking for ideas there are plenty to find!  C'mon, let's make the world a kinder place.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Independence Day Weekend

I'm back! I spent Independence Day weekend with some friends at a lake house down in Wetumpka, AL.
The view from the back porch
We went down on Thursday afternoon and came back last night. I love traveling, but can I just take a minute to say how much I don't love driving through Chattanooga at rush hour? I don't normally get frustrated in traffic, but rush hour in Chattanooga is a thing to be avoided at all costs. We had intended to leave in time to just miss it, but Greg ended up getting stuck in a loop at work and we didn't leave until an hour later. So we ended up getting caught in the middle of it. Not only was there normal rush hour traffic, but also holiday rush hour traffic and construction.
G really needs to wash his window!
I took this picture to let Amy know how far we'd gotten and that traffic was pretty light for Chattanooga. Famous last words because about 5 minutes later we came to a full stop. According to the GPS we ended up losing 25 minutes in Chattanooga. After a stop for fuel of both kinds, we managed to get there only 30 minutes after I thought we would.
The next morning I discovered my breakfast spot!
The front porch was about 15 degrees cooler than the back, so I enjoyed most of my morning meals on the swing. Southerner, y'all. Hahaha.
Since it was after sunset when we got there, G and I didn't go out on the water until Friday morning. But I got to do something new; kayaking!
I know a lot of people who love kayaking, but I hadn't had a chance to try it out. There were 2 kayaks at this lake house, a single and a double. After testing them out on land (read: making sure my long-legged love wasn't too tall), we headed out.

Whoo hoo! He fits!
I can see why people really like it! It's so peaceful and relaxing (if you're on a calm-ish lake like we were). Plus, it's a great upper body/core workout. :-) Greg ended up going out in the single kayak while Amy and I went in the 2-seater. It was definitely a bonding experience (like we need more??). I sat in front and had a one-ended paddle while she was in the back wit a double ended paddle. We might have gone in a few circles before we found our rhythm. It was fun though! I lost count of the number of times we went kayaking over the weekend. It became sort of a time killer while we were waiting for other things, which was great. And ever since we got home, G's been looking to buy a kayak. Fun stuff!

Friday night we took the pontoon boat out to watch the fireworks. I looks behind the boat and was just in love with God's color scheme for the evening!

After that I didn't really take too many pictures. We kept meaning to, but time just got away from us. It wasn't until I was typing this post that I realized I didn't ever take a delfie with Amy. Tragic! Overall it was a good holiday weekend. I hope yours was enjoyable, too!

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