Friday, December 30, 2011

My sparkle girls

Earlier this month I took pictures of my nieces for my sister and brother in law to use on their Christmas card. We had such a blast!!
Tessa is so smiley and expressive, taking her picture is a breeze. And Sadie has personality for days; put a camera in front of her and she turns into such a ham. I felt bad because I ended up having quite a few more pictures of Sadie than I did Tessa, but Sadie and the camera were in a groove and I didn't want to interrupt her creative genius.
I strung up Christmas lights behind the girls to add a festive touch. Plus I thought the "sparkles" would be fitting for a girl (Sadie of course) who named her two goldfish Allison and Sparkle-Twix. That's right folks, Sparkle-Twix. Now you have a better idea what kind of fun personality I was working with!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Years food revolution

So lately I've had a love/hate relationship with food, well not really food in general, just the process of deciding what to eat and then fixing it. (And don't even get me started on cleaning it up afterwards sans dishwasher.)
I really like to cook, I do, and have been doing so much more of it since getting married. I find myself reading countless food blogs and watching shameless hours of the Food Network and the Cooking channel. But lately I've felt burdened with the task of deciding what to cook. There are so many choices, and with many of the choices requiring extensive ingredient lists, I just give up and have something simple and boring. Like last week I found myself watching back to back episodes of Everyday Italian while eating frozen pizza. FROZEN PIZZA! That is just not acceptable, and really doesn't make any sense.
So I've decided I need a food revolution. I'm tired of the same old food routine rut the husband and I have been stuck in. I need some fresh ideas. I need to spice up my recipe list, restock my pantry, and be prepared to make fun, different, and inexpensive meals in the new year.

To help you see what I'm working with, here is a list of the common things we eat. Now keep in mind that I married into a cattle-farming family so we are blessed with lots of beef. And we are on a grad-school budget.  I'm positive this list is not exhaustive, but it gives you an idea.

Main dishes:
Hamburger steaks
Steaks-  I don't really want to change this staple, just find better things to pair with it.
Spagetti- with meat sauce of course.
Tacos- ground beef, salsa, chips, cheese, rotel..etc, etc, etc..
Frozen pizza. Honestly we probably eat a frozen pizza once a week. It's so nice to not have to wash dishes.
Chili. I'm actually not tired of my chili yet because we don't eat it very often.
Baked chicken

Side dishes:
Baked potatoes
Boiled potatoes
Potato fries. Or that's just what we call them. Baked potato wedges covered in seasoning salt and Cajun seasoning. Really one of Jamo's favorites. 
Baked beans
Black eyed peas (occasionally)
Cheesy bread or garlic bread
Mac and cheese- sometimes homemade, sometimes from a box (I know, I know. Trust me I'm embarrassed)
Fried okra. (in the summer)

Things I make occasionally:
Stuffed shells with meat sauce. Tasty, just time consuming.
Mushroom and Swiss sliders
Bow tie lasagna
Muffaletta sandwiches. (Just for me, Jamo won't touch these)
Pot roast with carrots and potatoes

Uuugghhhh. Just reading that list makes me so bored. I need new inspiration.
What is a dinner favorite at your house? What is your go-to meal for ease and flavor. What side dishes are usually in your repertoire? What does a week's worth of meals look like for you?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Facial hair

I love facial hair.
Well facial hair on guys of course.
There is just something rugged, hunky, manly, and fastactic about a man with a beard.
But not just any man!!!
So needless to say I get quite excited when "No-shave-November" rolls around. It might be my favorite month of the year. Not kidding.
And for the past couple years, "No-shave-November" has transformed into "Shave-your-beard-to-something-weird-December". And quite frankly, I'm kinda fond of that too. Not so much for the attractiveness factor, but more for the comic relief.

The best part of this little fun "project" was that the next evening, after he opted to keep it just one more day, we went to my hometown's little Christmas on Main event without really thinking of the consequences. So with his 1970's style handle-bar mustache in full force we ran into friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, and church friends. I couldn't help but giggle shamelessly and I believe he was red-faced for most of the evening.
It was great.
I can't wait for next year.