Saturday, May 30, 2009

Last night, Darby and I watched Jay Leno's last night as host of The Tonight Show. I have always loved Leno, even though most people my age prefer Letterman (or Conan O'Brien). I just don't get those two. I don't enjoy "random" humor. I like the scripted, sort of cheesy stuff. Plus, Jay just seems like a really good guy. He's been doing free shows for people who have lost their jobs, and, he's still married to his wife. Last night he said, "The best thing about leaving is that I'm leaving with the same girl I came with," and then he pointed to his wife in the audience who was beaming and waving. So sweet!

We don't watch Jay every night, but we do usually watch Headlines on Mondays. That tradition started long before we got married, though. My mom and I would stay up on Mondays when I was in high school to watch (well, I would stay up; she would have been awake anyway). It was a fun tradition. Plus, Mom would always give me a backrub while we watched. I enjoy watching with Darby, but I don't get the guaranteed backrub!

Jay's going to have a new show in the fall, and he's still going to do the Headlines segment! Darby and I are both glad that it's on earlier so we don't have to stay up to watch anymore. (Guess I'm not the only old one in this relationship!)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Splurges for the Ultra-Frugal

I pride myself on being very frugal. Some might say I'm obsessed with it. But I am beginning to realize that there are some things I'm going to have to resign myself to spending more money on (i.e., not always buying the cheapest version I can find) or I'll go crazy. Here's some items I'm willing to splurge on. (And, obviously, my definition of a splurge is pretty loose.)

1. Glad or Saran wrap. The generic DOES NOT work. I don't understand how they're allowed to sell that stuff. It doesn't even stick to itself.

2. Dove deodorant. Jessica introduced me to this back in high school, and I haven't switched since. It smells so good! I can't stand perfume-y or baby powder smells. Dove just smells really fresh and clean. It's worth the expense.

3. Tomatoes, all year long, even in winter when they're like $4 a pound. It's so worth it!

4. Good bras. Sorry if you're a guy reading this; I hope that's not TMI. My last bra cost $80. I have to admit I cried a little after I bought it. But, I've now resigned myself to the fact that I will spend more on my undergarments than I will ever spend on a shirt, jeans, and maybe even shoes. That's my life.

5. Disinfecting wipes (like Clorox). This is the only way I will clean with any sort of regularity. But they have to be a reputable brand. I bought the store brand once, and they are so thin. It's terrible!

6. Coffee. We're coffee snobs. (Darby more than me, but I'm coming around.) If you think you don't like coffee and all you've tried is Folgers, please try something else. We get our beans from a local roastery, but Starbucks and Seattle's Best both have really good blends.

Is it sad that almost all of my "splurges" are things you can buy at the grocery store? I mean, I really do spend money on restaurants, entertainment, and travel, just not very often. So, I have to have some little day-to-day things that make me happy. Trying to strike a balance between budget-consciousness and obsessiveness is kind of hard for me. Do any of you have that problem? I've started getting kind of panicked when I can't find any cereal I like on sale at the store. I'll just wander the aisle for 10 minutes thinking about what to do. I need help. :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thanks for all the salsa recipes! I made the one I had bookmarked this weekend since I already had the stuff for it. It was good, but a little too spicy for my taste. I can't wait to try all of the recipes people left in the comments.

I called Norma to get clarification on the chocolate cream pie recipe, and it worked out great! There wasn't a step missing in the recipe. It was just a case of someone who knows the recipe backward and forward writing it down for someone who has no idea how to do it. It wasn't super-detailed. :)

Darby and I had a nice, lazy Memorial Day weekend. We've been steadily collecting all 10 seasons of Friends for the past few years. We finally got the one season we had been missing (Season 8) last week. So, we've been watching pretty much non-stop. We started at Season 1 about a month ago and are now on Season 8. We'll sit down to watch "one episode" and end up watching a whole disc. We're pretty much bums.

Now, I'm watching the Jon and Kate Plus Eight season premiere and getting really ticked. There have been all these rumors about Jon having an affair. I'm not sure whether any of those are true or not. (Jon's denying it.) But, Jon has said he doesn't want to do the show anymore. Kate, of course, still wants to. I'm sure there are lots of other issues, but if she really wants to salvage their marriage like she says, then the first step would be STOP FILMING THE SHOW! I can't imagine Darby ever telling me he really didn't want to do something and me insisting that he do it. Whether she thinks his feelings are justified or not, she should respect them. Then she's all like, "Poor me. The paparazzi are following me everywhere." Gee, I wonder if they might stop if you didn't have your own T.V. show? (Why do I watch these shows that make me angry? There must be some sort of psychological study about that.) Anyway, rant over. Just had to get that out of my system.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In need of recipes

Okay, I need some help. Does anyone have a really good recipe for chocolate cream pie and/or homemade salsa?

The story behind needing a chocolate cream pie recipe is kinda funny. A friend of ours invited Darby and me over for a cookout on Memorial Day. I asked him if I could bring anything, and he said, "Yeah...a chocolate cream pie." It kind of surprised me. Usually people say, "Oh, a dessert or something." But, he knew he wanted a chocolate cream pie. I'm happy to oblige, and I've actually been looking for an excuse to make one. Norma (for those of you who know her) gave me her recipe a while ago. But when I started looking at it, it seemed to be missing a step or two. I might just use the steps of another recipe and the ingredients from Norma's, but I'm nervous. Anyone made one?

I've been going through A LOT of storebought salsa lately, and it's pretty expensive. I think I can make it for less at home, especially if I make a big batch and freeze some of it. (I'm not ready to get into canning yet. I'm afraid I might poison myself or something.) I found what looks like a good recipe online here, but any suggestions are welcome.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Summer's here!

You can't really tell by the weather, though. (It got down to 39 on Sunday night!!) It seems to be warming up some, although I had to laugh when the weatherman said that tomorrow's going to be a "scorcher." The high? 82. Ha!

Summer is absolutely my favorite time of year. Even though, I'm not in school any more, it always feels like I have so much more free time. And, I guess I do have a little more free time this summer. Starting June 1, we are switching to "summer hours" at work, which means we work 7 to 3, rather than 8 to 4:30. It'll be really nice to be done at 3, but getting to work at 7 might be rough for a while!

The best thing about summer is that Darby doesn't have homework, so I can spend my evenings with him, rather than watching dumb TLC shows. Yay! I decided that every Tuesday night this summer should be date night. Every week, we switch off who plans our date. It's so nice to have something to look forward to during the week. I mean, we spend every night together anyway, but on Tuesdays we have to actually do something besides watch TV or play Wii. :)

I have a tradition of setting goals for myself for the summer (fun goals, nothing like losing weight or anything). So, here are a few things I'd like to do before September 1:
  • Go on a picnic. When I graduated from high school, Darby gave me a picnic basket full of really cute melanine dishes and plastic silverware. I love it, but sadly, I've only used it two or three times.
  • Play badminton. My mom gave Darby a badminton set for his birthday last year. We played a few times after we moved here, but then our yard was covered with snow for four months, so we got out of the habit.
  • Finish my wedding scrapbook. (For real this time...haha!) I am soooo close. Why is it so hard for me to do the last ten percent?
  • Make homemade ice cream. I have an ice cream maker that I've used about three times. The ice cream tastes so good, but it's kind of a pain to add all the ice and salt. I really would like one of those ice cream makers that doesn't require ice (you just freeze the bowl or something), but I don't want to spend money on one unless I know I'll use it. So to prove to myself that a new one would be worth it, I have to use my lame ice cream maker several times this summer.
  • Take a trip with Darby to either Nashville or St. Louis.

I'll probably add a few more to this list, but that's what I came up with off the top of my head.

Friday, May 15, 2009

3 crazy things I saw on my way to/from work today

  1. On my way to work, a woman was stopped at a stop sign across from me and not going when it was her turn. There was a huge line of cars backed up behind her. As I drove by, I looked in her car to make sure she was okay. She was texting!!
  2. On the way home, there was a car stopped in the righthand lane near a light. The cars in front of her had already gone, and she wasn't moving. I looked in, and, yep, she was texting! It wasn't the same woman, either.
  3. On my way home, I saw a girl walking down the sidewalk in a T-shirt, what appeared to be her underwear, and leg warmers that came up past her knee. So her entire thigh was exposed. I almost hit the car in front of me staring at her. After I thought about it for a while, I realized that maybe she was going to dance class and was wearing her leotard. But, really, if you're going to put on leg warmers, why not just throw on some sweatpants? It looks a lot less weird.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

We had a great time in Abilene; it was just way too short. We got in Friday night and went to Chili's for dinner. Friday was my mom's 50th birthday, so we went over to my aunt's house for a little party with all of the family that had come into town. I put together a book of letters for her from friends and family. I think it turned out really well. I am so glad I was able to be there for my mom's birthday. She is awesome!
Mom reading her book

The guy "frousins" looking tough

Hannah graduated on Saturday morning. Afterwards, we ate at Lytle Land and Cattle and then went back to Aunt Lea's house for more cake and presents. Darby and I were able to talk to our old preacher (the one who married us) for a little bit after graduation, which was great.

All of the current and former ACUers with Willie the Wildcat. Yeah, we're that cool.

Me and Darby...just because we never have pictures together. You can ignore my blindingly-white legs. That's what happens when a naturally pale person moves to Illinois and keeps her legs covered for 6 months. It's not pretty.

We stayed with Darby's old roommate Nathan and his wife Jesiree. It was nice to get to visit with them some and see their precious house.

We left this morning at 11 a.m. We were so bummed that we weren't able to go to church at Westgate. Hopefully, we'll get a chance to go back and stay a little longer once I have vacation from work. I am so happy we were able to be in Texas for mom's birthday, Hannah's graduation, and Mother's Day all in one weekend. And it was great to see so much of our extended family. I can't wait until July when we see everyone again at Amy's wedding.

Friday, May 08, 2009

My first roommate

My sister is graduating from ACU tomorrow! And I will be there! I am so excited for her. I know she is going to be a fabulous teacher. I don't think anyone loves children more than Hannah.

All of this has made me nostalgic for my ACU days (not that they were that long ago!) In a lot of ways the past 2 1/2 years have flown by, but it also seems like it's been a long time since I was living with Brittany, taking exams, working the free movies for CAB.

And it feels like FOREVER ago that I was graduating high school and getting ready to go to ACU. I was so excited but quite a bit nervous. I was especially anxious to find out who my roommate was. I waited and waited and finally got the card in the mail that said I would be living in Gardner Hall with Jeanine Wilson from Tahoka, TX. I nervously dialed the phone number on the card, and it had been disconnected! I was freaking out, thinking, "Oh no! I'm not going to be able to get a hold of her and she's going to think I don't want to room with her and then she's going to find a new roommate and I'm going to have to live alone." (I feel like I've mellowed some since then, at least I hope I have.)

Well, I think my mom and I, with a little Internet research, were able to find her number online (guess where my stalker tendencies come from?) I called and left a message. When she called back, I was at work and wasn't going to be home until late, so I couldn't call her until the next day. I fretted that whole time wondering if she thought I just didn't want to talk to her. (I am sometimes amazed that I have not had a heart attack due to all my worrying.) I finally was able to talk to her, and much to my relief, she seemed very nice, smart, and normal. We exchanged pictures (it's kind of like online dating, ha!), and she was really cute with short strawberry blonde hair and freckles.

The only disappointment was that she had already gotten her bedding. I really wanted us to have matching bedding, but I thought, "Well, maybe I'll just get something that coordinates with hers." So I asked her what hers looked like, and she said, "It's a black comforter with red and black Asian-inspired throw pillows." Oh, no! That totally did not coordinate with the Crazy Daisy set I had been wanting! But, I got it anyway.

I wish I had asked Jeanine what she thought that first day when she walked into our room and saw my blindingly bright comforter, my Hello Kitty alarm clock, and my abundance of clothes. She was a little bit on the tomboy side, and had a much more "Zen" style. I'm sure she wondered what she had gotten herself into.

But, we got along pretty well. Of course, we had some of the normal roommate tension. And we didn't hang out together all the time. But, I think I got really lucky for a random drawing. Jeanine was sweet and fun; she kept the room clean; she didn't make fun of me for going to bed early; she was serious about her faith. I'm not sure what she's doing now. Last I heard she was in Mexico for a short-term mission.

You could not pay me to go back and share that little room and use a community bathroom. But, at the time, I thought it was great. Some of my fondest college memories are from freshman year, living with 200 other silly girls, thinking we were "adults." I am so happy I went to ACU. I'm sure I would have enjoyed anywhere I went, but I really liked being at a small school, having to live in the dorms, actually getting to know my professors. I won't say it was the best four years of my life; being married to Darby is definitely better. But it was for sure the most fun four years of my life.

Hope you aren't bored to tears by my reminiscing. I love having my blog because I can look back and see what was going on in my life a year or two ago. But, I didn't have a blog in high school or college, so I'm trying to record some of my memories before I lose the details.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Motivated eater

I was reading an article in SELF magazine (I got a free subscription), and I found a term that totally describes my relationship with food: motivated eater. You see, normal people will only eat bad stuff when they have it around. Motivated eaters, on the other hand, will go out at midnight in a blizzard to get some ice cream. Yep, that's me. So, it doesn't matter if motivated eaters get rid of all of their junk food. (Well, I guess it can't hurt, but it definitely doesn't solve the problem.)

Case(s) in point: I do not keep packaged dessert items in the house. But, I have been known to whip up a chocolate cake from scratch just so I can eat something sweet. A few weeks ago, I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I thought I'd be smart and freeze half of the dough so that I wasn't tempted to eat all of the cookies at once. Well, guess what happened to that dough? It got eaten, bit by bit by bit. If only cookie dough didn't thaw so quickly!

I don't remember what suggestions SELF had to remedy this problem. Should I get rid of all my flour and sugar? Move 30 miles from the nearest Dairy Queen? I think maybe the solution is to become a motivated exerciser. That's a little harder to get motivated about. :)