Monthly Archives: April 2012

Let’s catch up homies

Time flies- literally. It’s almost the end of April and it feels like we just rang in the new year. I’ve been feeling like there are several posts I should wrap up and some exciting things I should share.

First- I would like to wrap up my 40 Days post.

I decided to participate in Lent this year and I gave up pop completly for that entire span- actually it ended up being 48 days since I went until the Monday after Easter. It was an eye opening time – one I also would not like to repeat. It was easier and tougher than I expected. First, I did have that wonderful caffinee headache for the first couple of days. Then I got to the point where I was totally fine not having pop- I actually enjoyed figuring out what else on menus I would want. Strawberry lemonaide has become a new favorite. At work I would (and still) drink water or a flavored water for lunch. I’ve gone back to having pop or milk or whatever for dinner- but I don’t feel as dependant on it anymore!! I do feel like I was tested more in other ways during this time with my health and my faith. Without going into details my health is fine and my faith is strong. Satan has a funny way of messing with you when you feel like you’re doing great. Probably because you’re relying on yourself and not God as it should be. It’s pretty easy to get knocked over when it’s just you.

Second update: Is Kelly still curly???

Yes… and no. Who was I kidding? I can’t have my hair curly every day, that would drive me nuts. I actually did have it curly only for about a month but now I go back and forth more often than before.

Third update: Will I turn into a yogi?

Very doubtful. But I do like the classes- and they are good for relaxing and loosening up. The class that Danielle and I took this week was the ‘classic’ yoga version- so I learned more poses and terms. Suprisingly I could keep up pretty well- balance was only an issue on a few poses. I don’t think she got into anything really advanced though. Gentle yoga is up again next Monday… followed by a cycling class on Tuesday. Not sure yet what we’ve gotten ourselves into…

Fourth update: Show me the money!!

No- I did not go get a lottery ticket when the pot was crazy huge like I need to for # 27 on my manifesto. I’m re-thinking some life choices right now… lol.

How am I doing on my manifesto?

Overall, not bad! These are the items I’ve completed/am in the process of completing:

1.    Spend a day at an art museum Completed 1/14/12

My dad and I spent the day at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art – so much fun. This is a must-repeat experience for sure!

4.    ‘Learning new Recipes’ Dinner with Anna/Lindsey twice a month

Jan. (1) Jan. (2) Feb. (1) Feb. (2) March (1) March (2) April (1) April (1) part 2  April (2)

Anna and I have so far succesfully had a recipe test dinner/lunch twice a month! I’m really enjoying this experience- spending more time with Anna and figuring out new things to make for myself. May will be crazy and interesting, but we’re going to make it work!

12.  Attend two concerts in a week… and live to tell the tale Completed the week of Jan. 17/19

So much fun. I love concerts. I’ve been to the Lady Antebellum concert since then with Danielle. Looking forward to as many more as possible this year!

22.  Read all of Jane Austen’s novels

Northanger Abbey Sense and Sensibility

Great books- I’m glad I decided to read all of these novels. Working on Pride and Prejudice right now. I have about a gazillion other books I’m working on at the same time, (how did I turn into one of those people?) but I’ll make it!

24.  Visit an aquarium attraction Completed April 21, 2012

Such a fun day! Wonderful to see Lindsey and Chad- and a fun day at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium to boot! I’m looking forward to hopefully going to the new aquarium at Crown Center soon.

31. Take a yoga class Completed April 17, 2012

I’m so zen. 😉

 

Breaking news: these are the items from the manifesto that I’m working on- all soon to be completed if it is the Lord’s will:

6.    Travel to Europe

Oh yes. Super pumped. The fam and I are going to Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France in only 39 days from today, but who’s counting? I would also like to mention that this will be my third time to Paris, and my third time to Europe in general. I’m one blessed gal. 🙂

7.    Make a budget for my finances

I’m working on it, ok? Geez…

10. Complete my resume and portfolio

Very close to being nearly completed. I want to get it all done before we head off on the jet plane so I can stop thinking about them.

23.  Organize my closets

This is seriously happening. You should see the hallway where my closets are. Yikes.

 

Here’s to a great rest of 2012- may your days be blessed and you and yours remain happy and healthy!

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Day Trip to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Wake up: 5:55 am – Leave for Road Trip: 6:20am- Breakfast at the McDonald’s with the flying Duck: 6:45ish- Arrive at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium: 10:20am.

Lindsey, Anna, Chad And I had a wonderful day at the zoo- we explored almost every area of the zoo. We saw acrobatic monkeys, lazy hippopotamus, lots and lots of bats, an Arapaima just like on “River Monsters” with Jeremy Wade (love that show), huge sharks, diving penguins, lots of beautiful jellyfish, lots of giraffes with babies!, and an ostrich try to intimidate a zookeeper. There was a super lazy sea lion, a lot more monkeys, a bunch of bears, and a bunch of cats- including a really awesome white tiger that we basically adopted. 🙂

Here’s our day in pictures- with lots of accompanying videos. Just click on the links and you it’ll take you to my youtube channel. It won’t open a new window, so you’ll have to click on the ‘back arrow’ button to get back to my blog. Sorry. If anyone knows how to fix that if you could let me know that would be awesome. Hope you enjoy!

I loved these monkeys- they were so funny. Every time more people would come over they would start doing more tricks, like they were performing and knew everyone was watching. 🙂

Monkeying around in the Jungle! VIDEO: http://youtu.be/NVZK2RnTg6A

This is the exact spot my brother started liking penguins in. They are fun to watch! There was one who was very interested in all of the kids. 🙂

Penguins!! VIDEO: http://youtu.be/oIGLLwBRo3s

I love the underwater tunnels- I just wish they weren’t always such a mob scene!

Underwater Adventure: VIDEO: http://youtu.be/xIL-2Zsj5Do

I love Jellyfish- always have. They just move so gracefully. They are totally mesmerizing.

Jellyfish: VIDEO: http://youtu.be/V80I_MMB02k

Upside-Down Jellyfish: VIDEO: http://youtu.be/4B6fbqmPPm4

I’ve also always loved giraffes- possibly because I am crazy tall just like them! I was excited to see the baby giraffes, they were so cute!

Giraffe! VIDEO: http://youtu.be/ipyWVskKtrc

I love trains at zoos/amusement parks/anywhere really. Get it from my mom. 🙂

Train at the Zoo VIDEO: http://youtu.be/yKfrJ2EKkfU

Very feisty sea lions! They were either sassy or sleepy- see the videos 😉

Sea Lions frolicking VIDEO: http://youtu.be/bM-vN35Vj9g

Super lazy Sea lion, so hilarious! VIDEO: http://youtu.be/OLRUBnCs1Vo

We saw a zookeeper walking around in an open outdoor area with giraffe and ostriches- it appeared that he may have been looking for ostrich eggs or something. That must have been the case because a very indignant ostrich tried to intimidate him. It looked like she would have chased him down if she needed to! The poor guy was just trying to do his job. Super funny video- they are all good- but this one is hilarious!

Ostrich Intimidates Zookeeper VIDEO: http://youtu.be/vKl9GjCksC4

I’ve never seen this area before- not sure if they expanded the gorilla area like they did with the aquarium, but they had a really nice setup!

Gorilla Yoga VIDEO: http://youtu.be/BBUOwA9FIdU

The Puma was just sitting on her branches when we got there- but not soon after she started growling and attacking a tire and generally being moody. Maybe it was my ‘Puma shoe’ comment. :/

Angry Puma VIDEO: http://youtu.be/PqH6Z06xh6s

We spent about 10 minutes with the White Tiger and fell in love. He/she was pacing, wanting his food, then walked the length of the glass back and forth checking out all of the humans. He was waiting patiently for his food when we had to leave- check out the last picture. He was so sad to see us go!! 😦

Our sweet White Tiger VIDEO: http://youtu.be/6cdyXwkYrm8

What an awesome day!! Awesome to be able to check off #24- Visit an aquarium attraction!!! 😀

Some more pictures from our day:

We had dinner at the Old Spaghetti Works (delicious!) – really fun day! 🙂

Imagine yourself in your mind…

… breathe in and out.. sync your breathing to your movements.. and try to ignore those clangs and thumps coming from the next room! If you couldn’t guess, I finally took a yoga class!! Unfortunately sometimes it was hard to ‘relax’ and control my breathing when a bunch of people were exercising really loud in the next room. It reminded me of trying to watch a romantic comedy with a loud action movie in the next door theatre.

Danielle and I got a Groupon for a bunch of classes at multiple locations- and will be able to take whatever classes we want that they offer as well. In the future I’m excited to take kickboxing, cycling and pilaties. We got it started off right with the yoga class where we learned how to bend and stretch and contort into all sorts of crazy positions. And once I got past the clangs and thumps and the complete lack of balance necessary for many yoga poses- it was very relaxing and actually helped my desk-hunch back pain! 😀

Harry Potter Marathon… 2nd April recipe test with Anna!

Did I ever mention I’m a nerd? Well it’s true. And part of my membership of nerd-hood is the requirement to like the Harry Potter series. This past weekend Anna and I tested out some new recipes- all from the world of the Boy who lived. Oh- and we also watched every single one of the movies in order- that’s a total of 8 movies. Craziness. For those of you who have never had the privilage to read the books or watch the movies, this series centers around one boy- Harry- who was the intended victim at the center of a plot from the ‘darkest wizard of the time.’ Of course this plot goes badly arwy for (he-who-shall-not-be-named) and Harry became ‘The Boy who lived’ surviving with only a lightening bolt shaped scar on his forehead. The rest of the series is a lesson in love, friendship, growing up, bravery and standing up for what is right- all while going through those rough teen years (angst! angst!) and *SPOILER ALERT!* eventually culminating in a full out war and Harry’s defeat of the returned Voldemort- (he-who-shall-not-be-named.)

There are numerous mentions of food in the series- and many scenes with the actors gathering in the great hall to eat in the movies. From these we gathered enough to make our recipes for this month- slow cooked chicken with veggies, pumpkin (bars), and Butterbeer. (A drink for wizards of all age) 🙂

Starting the chicken, potatos, onions, bacon bits, etc. in the slow cooker:

Adding the veggies about 3 hours later (since they were frozen & not fresh):

The Cast of Characters for the Pumpkin bars (minus the veggie oil):

Mixing together the deliciousness:

Ready to go in the oven (it took about 30 minutes to bake as bars- the recipe called for cookies, but the batter was crazy liquidy- not great for cookie making) We found out upon further inspection of the recipe that we should not have made the cake on the box- we should have just added the pumpkin to the cake mix. Oh well, it turned out to be a very delicious happy accident!:

Making the foam for the Butterbeer:

This was the recipe for the chilled butterbeer- created with cream soda, butter flavoring, and then the foam consisted of things like sugar, heavy cream and butter flavoring. Neither Anna or I were a huge fan of this version. It was that nasty butter flavoring. Blech:

Then we tried out the slushy butterbeer version with butterscotch and caramel flavoring- (FLIPPING DELICIOUS!!):

With the cream soda:

We have a winner!! The slushy butterbeer with the same foam is tasty:

Dinner is served! It was delicious! And yes, that is Harry Potter wrapping paper serving as a table cloth and HP napkins:

Anna! Kansas Quidditch team t-shirt 😉

Me- Seeker t-shirt, (also a Quidditch thing)  🙂

We had a great time- the only thing that would have made it even better would have been to have a thunderstorm in the background. I suppose I can trade that though for not having the tornados, damaging wind or hail that western Kansas got… Glad everyone else in the state was ok after the storms!!

I know you are ready to try out your inner-nerd (aka inner-awesome) t00! 🙂 Here are the recipes!:

Sunday Chicken Supper

Ingredients

  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups fresh green beans (2-inch pieces)
  • 5 small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 (3 pound) broiler/fryer chicken cut up
  • 4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled (We used bacon bits)
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules (We just used two cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 pinch pepper

Directions

  1. In a 5-qt. slow cooker, layer the first seven ingredients in order listed.
  2. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; pour over the top. Do not stir. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until vegetables are tender and chicken juices run clear. (We let it go for 6 hours and added the frozen veggies after about 3 hours)
  3. Remove chicken and vegetables. Thicken juices for gravy if desired.

Pumpkin Bars

(We accidently made the cake on the spice cake box so it had to be turned into bars instead of cookies- just bake for 30 minutes if you take that happy accidental route that we did) 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 (18 1/4 ounce) box spice cake mix
  • 1 (15 ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin (the small can)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) or 1 cup chopped pecans (optional) or1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup cream cheese frosting (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray cookie sheets lightly with vegetable spray (Pam).
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and pumpkin with a fork or mixer until well blended; stir in nuts or raisins, if desired.
  4. Drop by large rounded spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet; they don’t flatten out much so however you place them on the sheet is pretty much how they’ll look after baking.
  5. Bake for 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies.
  6. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for up to 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Frost, if desired.
  8. How many cookies you get depends on how large you make them of course – just increase your baking time if making larger cookies (it’s truly difficult to burn these, but they will get crispier & less moist); Mine, made with a medium size cookie scoop, take 13-15 minutes to bake and yield about 3 dozen.

Butterbeer

Visit http://www.mugglenet.com/misc/rosmertas/butterbeervideo.shtml to see a video of this recipe from Mugglenet.

***Before you begin, place your mugs in the freezer***
Ingredients for Foam:

  • 6 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup of Heavy Cream
  • 2 teaspoons of artificial Butter Flavoring

Directions:

Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, vanilla extract and the cup of heavy cream and mix it all together with either an electric mixer or a whisk and elbow grease (not your wand) until you get soft peaks (2-4 minutes with electric mixer).

Step 2: Place to the side or in your refrigerator until ready to serve.

Ingredients for Butterbeer (Chilled):

Your favorite brand of cream soda

  • 1 cup of Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon of artificial Butter Flavoring

Directions:

Step 1: Gently pour your cream soda into your frosted mug.

Step 2: Add 1 Tablespoon of artificial butter flavoring and stil to mix together.

Step 3: Add a spoonful of your pre-mixed foam to the top and serve!

Ingredients for Butterbeer (Slushy): This was the best one!!

  • Your favorite brand of cream soda
  • Butterscotch Carmel Topping
  • Ice Cubes
  • Blender

 

Directions:

Step 1: In blender, add the Tablespoon of Butterscotch Carmel, a cup of ice cubes, cream soda and blend until slushy and lumps of ice are gone.

Step 2: Pour into the chilled mug, and the topping and serve!

Ingredients for Butterbeer (Hot Butterbeer Cider): Didn’t try this one yet

  • Butterscotch Carmel Topping
  • Brown Sugar
  • Milk

 

Directions:

Step 1: Heat the stove top to medium.

Step 2: Pour a glass of milk into the pot.

Step 3: After milk is warmed up, add a Tablespoon of Butterscotch Topping and 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar. Stir until mixed in and drink is warmed to desired temperature

Step 4: Pour into a large mug, top it off with your foam and serve!

 

Cheers!

Lady Antebellum Own the Night Tour 2012

Good Friday was good for more than one reason! Danielle and I went to the Lady Antebellum concert at the Sprint Center- it was an awesome! It’s great when bands that you like can actually sing live too. 🙂

This is the opening act- Thompson Square. They are a husband/wife duo and were fantastic! They even won the 47th ACM Vocal Duo of the Year last weekend! I just wish they had more time for their set. ;(

Darius Rucker was the main opening act- I’ve seen him as an opening act before, but I think this was his best concert I’ve been to yet:

Lady Antebellum!:

Needless to say they were awesome! Can’t wait until they come back to Kansas City. I love being able to get concert tickets whenever I want. It’s #72 on top awesome things you can do now you’re an adult! 😀

Bracketology- part 2

Well obviously I wish the season had finished with a KU win instead of Kentucky… but I’m happy with KU’s season this year. They went far beyond anyone’s expectations. We’ll miss you seniors, (plus T Rob) and Danny!!!

My bracket fared decently – all things considered. Mizzou and Duke messed it up early (fine by me) and I ended up with Kentucky correct as the winner. I wish life could have followed my fantasy bracket with Kansas as the winner! 🙂

These are my stats from espn’s bracket competition page- I ranked 1,287,744th among who knows how many people- and was at 80%:

In my Facebook friends group online through espn I ended up ranked 4th of 31 people- not bad!

Among all of the (zillions) of Kansas fans on espn I ranked 4180th:

Among all the (zillions) of Kansas State fans on espn I ranked 938th:

View my first bracketology post here.

Even though there’s really no chance of me guessing the March Madness bracket correctly I will still do it every year- because that is what college basketball fans do. We dream and plan and cheer and cheer and celebrate and are devastated when our team gets kicked out- no matter what the circumstances are. But there is always hope for the next season!

So until next March- EMAW & Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Go KU!!

Life Lately… According to my Android Phone