Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fire. (But Everyone Is Okay. And It Wasn't My House.)

Last night I was on my way to take our pumpkin out to the front porch when TC said, "Ahhh, honey? I don't think you're going to like this very much."

Just then I noticed a weird red light flashing through the window. In that instant I connected the weird red light with the sounds of sirens outside.

He was right. I didn't like it at all.

"Oh, God. Is my house on fire and I don't know it?" That was my first thought. 

But no. The fire truck was not directly in front of our house. I popped my head out the door to see. It was the neighbor's house.

I hate fire. Hate it. Ever since I was little I've had a ridiculous fear of a house fire. When I was in elementary school I went so far as to having my mom buy me a fire extinguisher to keep next to my bed. It really complimented my Laura Ashley decor. Ahem.

Where were we? Yes, the fire.

We live in the down town area of our little city. Our street is residential but the house at the end, which is one house away, is an insurance company's office. I'm going to go ahead and assume they have pretty good coverage for fire damage.

I'm not sure of the details, but it caught on fire last night. It was after business hours, so no one was hurt. Don't quote me on this, but from what I could tell the fire appeared to be in the back of the house on the top floor. 

The fire department was there in no time flat. Tons of fire trucks rolled in, a couple of ambulances and several SUVs.

Even the big ladder truck came out.

Once it became obvious that there was no one inside, I went from being anxious and worried to feeling like a six year old who is obsessed with fire trucks and fire fighters. I've never really seen real fire man in action this close before.

Have you ever seen a ladder up close? It's huge. And really, really long.

I'm not sure how well I would do standing on top of a burning house, in a gas mask, with a chainsaw running in my hands. There is probably a reason I'm not a firefighter.

Considering that everyone is fine and the house received reparable damage, I feel that it is okay to bring this story back around to me and my irrational fears.

Here it is - I left the coffee pot on all day today.

I knew it as soon as I got to work but I couldn't do a damn thing about it all day.

I could just imagine the firefighters shaking their collective heads as they pulled down our street for the second time in 24 hours. 

Fortunately, it rained most of the day so my nerves weren't completely shot. We all know that fires can't start in the rain. Duh.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Success.

Tuesdays are my new favorite day of the week. 

On Sunday and Monday nights all of my papers and assignments are due. After six crazy days of studying, I give myself the evening off. 

In honor of this glorious Tuesday, I spent some time this afternoon working on our pumpkin.

But all I really did was buy the pumpkin, cut off the top, pull out the seeds and roast those suckers.

They were delicious.

Luckily, TC is a master pumpkin carver. If it were up to me we surely would have made a trip to the ER. 

Last time we carved a pumpkin he used a drill. Today he played it safe and just used a knife like a normal person.


Much to my amazement, he didn't even lose a finger in the process.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's The Thought That Counts.

I've made Hershey Kiss Pretzels with m&m's before. And they've always turned out great. They're easy. They're delicious and they're pretty cute.

So, I thought I'd make some for TC to bring in as a treat tomorrow. You see, he has a secret pumpkin (kindda like secret Santa) at work so he has to bring in a small gift every day this week. I was trying to help a brother out and avoid him being that guy that just shows up with a Snickers bar. You know that guy, don't you?

Everything was going swimmingly. I thought I was being especially creative using caramel kisses. In the past I've used Hugs but caramel kisses seemed more Halloweenish to me. Maybe because of the orange wrappers? I don't know.

Anyway, as it turns out, caramel kisses are not conducive to making these little treats.

For one, they don't melt well. Two, the caramel sticks everywhere and never really solidifies. Three, they're ugly.

But don't worry, they are still delicious. Maybe even more delicious than Hugs.

Moral of the story: when your edible gifts don't work out because they're dysfunctional and ugly, at least you have something delicious to keep for yourself and eat as a midnight snack.

Let's hope I have more luck in my pumpkin carving endeavours tomorrow night.

Side note: Prayers and good luck to those in the path of Sandy. My sister just lost power in NYC. When I texted her to see if she was drunk yet (she's not) she told me, "'re eating battery." Apparently she's fine and hasn't lost her rudeness.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekend Highlights: What I Didn't Do.

I didn't go out on a date with TC like he wanted to.

I didn't go to the market on Saturday morning.

I didn't eat one healthy meal.

I didn't get out of my pajamas on Saturday until 4:30.

I didn't clean my house or organize my life.

I didn't go running. Or shopping, for that matter.

I didn't go play outside or go on a fun adventure.

I didn't watch my beloved Tennessee Vols almost beat South Carolina.

I didn't dress up and go to a Halloween party.

I didn't even carve my damn pumpkin.

Nope. Instead I sat in my own personal hell. Otherwise known as my dining room table. I ran out of room at my desk, so the dining room it is. You can see the contents of my hell. Essay rubrics, cameras with photos to edit, coffee and a few to-do lists to accomplish. I may need to re-prioritize my life.

There were a few fun things on Sunday though.

Like breakfast with my favorite baby and her parents.

And making some good food for the week.

And since we didn't make it to Sunday dinner, my FIL delivered all the makings for hamburgers!

Man, I love them.

Now to kick off the last week of October with a glass of vino! Not just any wine, mind you. Straight from Blacksmith's in Casco, Maine, this is sparkling Cranberry wine. It does a body good.

Happy week!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Moment of the Week.

When TC walked in the door with flowers. For no reason other than he's awesome.

Husbands are the best.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Preparing To Photograph A Family Photo Session: Basics.

I'm kind of obsessed with taking pictures. It's a problem.

I do my best with food, but you all see how well that turns out.

I try to do everyday life and well, I'm working on it...

But little do you know, I attempt family and kids photos as well. Actually, I'm in the process of putting together the beginnings of a portfolio.

Ya know, to test the waters. See where it goes. Maybe actually make a bit of cash money one day.

Anyway, taking photos is a work in progress.

It takes practice. A lot of it.

And equipment. A lot of it.

And time. A lot of it, too.

And a good bit of confidence and willingness to screw up and then learn from your mistakes.

Two days ago I photographed a family of four beautiful blonde kids, ranging from three to nine years old. I've worked with three of the kids at school and they also happen to be the nieces and nephews of our good friends.

I'm always looking for kids to practice my photography skills and they were the perfect family to ask. Now that I've gotten to know the mom pretty well, I didn't look like a total creeper. I offered to take their photos, explained that I needed some more experience, that it would be for free and that they could have all the photos in the end.

Without a seconds hesitation, the mom was sold. Nothing to lose, right?

Bonus: She hasn't even seen the photos yet but her kids had enough fun that she already hooked me up with two other families!

Taking photos is a whole beast of its own. You've got to know how to use your camera, how to adjust your settings and all that stuff. We won't get into that right now. But once you're good with that, and before you even walk out the door, there are a few things to do so that you'll be at your best.

Trust me, I've screwed up all of this before.

1. Get your stuff ready. Make sure your memory cards are cleared. Charge your batteries. Duh.

2. Set out all your equipment. Cameras, lenses, cards, extra cards, battery, back-up batteries, lens caps, camera caps, props (signs, chalk, bubbles, blankets, ect). Double check you've got it all. Nothing like realizing you have no camera card when you're twenty minutes into a shoot. Even an eight year old, 512 MB card that you stole from your mom is better than nothing.

3. Don't wear low rise pants unless you've got on a looooong shirt. Chances are you'll be kneeling, crawling, running and generally moving in a way that isn't conducive to low rise jeans. No body wants to see that. Crack is whack.

4. Wear the right shoes. Looking somewhat put-together is important, but Jimmy Choos ain't gonna work for walking in the woods, standing on picnic tables and balancing on see-saws. Get out the running shoes and get over it.

5. How are you going to cart around your stuff? A camera bag? Not for me if I'm at the park or in the woods. The answer is pockets. Preferably ones with zippers. Stash your chapstick, phone, keys and extra battery and cards in there. You need to be mobile if you're going to chase around a wild four year old.

6. Pee before you leave. Maybe pee twice, just to be safe. Nothing breaks your concentration like floating teeth.

7. Scout out the location, which means getting there early. Where's the light? Where are good background colors? Are there parked cars or traffic? Nothing worse than a old, gross parked truck to kill a photo.

8. Get your hair out of your face. Pin back your bangs and rock a ponytail. Also, lose the sunglasses.

9. Don't go out drinking until all hours of the morning the night before. Sorry, Jen. Lesson learned.

10 (through 14). Take a few minutes to play around with the kids and get to know them so they're comfortable. Make a point to not stress out the parents. Take equal amounts of everyone's photo. Have some different angles and set-ups in mind. That being said, roll with the punches and go where the wind takes you.

Have fun!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Quinoa and Sausage Omelette Breakfast Cups.

I've been on the hunt for something really quick and filling for breakfast.

Truth be told, I never eat breakfast. It takes too long and I'm far too lazy.

But lately I am absolutely starving by lunch and then eat so much that I feel like a whale for the rest of the day.

So, it finally dawned on me that weekday breakfast might be something worth considering. 

As it just so happened, that day one of my favorite bloggers, Iowa Girl Eats, posted a recipe for Mini BLT Quinoa Cups that seemed like a perfect solution.

note: check out her blog by clicking on the purple links. she's adorable and her photos will make you drool. get a napkin before proceeding.

Like any good cheater, I stole it. 

I made them a little bigger and replaced her bacon with spicy Italian sausage. Next week I'm going to really go nuts and use ham. Or maybe turkey sausage. 

It's gonna get crazy up in here.

Anyway, these suckers are the perfect size and are delicious for several days if you pop them in the microwave for thirty seconds right before you walk out the door. 

Of course, they're awesome too when they're fresh out of the oven. 

It's like an omelette, but more portable. Kindda like a muffin, but not really at all. Maybe like a quiche. Sorta.

Give it a whirl and enjoy!

Just keep them out of the dog's reach.


Quinoa and Sausage Omelette Breakfast Cups

2/3 cup dry quinoa
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
2 eggs
3 egg whites
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup frozen, thawed and squeezed spinach
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (cherry tomatoes suggested)

1/2 - 3/4 cup of sausage, cooked and crumbled (any meat will do really!)
2 tablespoons shredded parmesean

Dash of salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. Rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer under cool water. Cook the quinoa in chicken broth, as directed. Meanwhile, cook sausage. In a bowl combine all ingredients. Scoop the quinoa mix into a well greased muffin tins. For regular sized muffin pans, bake 20 minutes. For mini muffin tins, bake 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool for several minutes and then use a knife to cut around the edges before removing. 

Makes 12 full size cups or 30 mini cups.


I picked up a dandelion last night. TC wasn't in the mood to make a wish, so I did. I can't tell you what I wished for though or it won't come true.

Doesn't matter. I change my wish. That's allowed, right?

Oh, and I'd like to add a million bucks to the list.

patience is a virtue...

patience is a virtue...

patience is a virtue...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekend Highlights.

It was gorgeous out on Friday. Like, windows down, music blasting, spring is in the air, gorgeous. Except it's fall. And spring is a whole winter away.

Saturday afternoon I moseyed on over to the Legs for Literacy Race Expo to pick up my bib and race kit. About a month ago, before I started regular physical therapy for my leg, I signed up to run the 5k as an attempt to get back into running. This is the biggest race in town with a 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon and full marathon that is a Boston qualifier for all the local badasses. I just wanted in for the super cool long sleeve tech shirt we got.

After scoring my sweet new running shirt I headed to the mall for new tights to go with my turquoise dress (thanks for the suggestions, btw!). Unfortunately I was sporting my old Tennessee Vols gameday t-shirt and didn't exactly fit in. I forgot that the mall is a fashion show and everyone is required to look their absolute best. I got out of there asap.

Saturday night TC and I headed over to our friends house for a little party. I love their cute house and I love their red door. We had a great time hanging out and stayed out way to late.

Which lead to this...


Didn't wake up, didn't run. I need my beauty sleep. I am officially the Mayor of Lameville.

In my defense, I haven't been running at all and I'm not even cleared to run further than 2.5 miles, so clearly 3.1 would have been catastrophic.

Instead, TC and I went out for a super late breakfast and sat next to a bunch of people sporting their race shirts and talking about how great the run was.

Hi, I'm the Mayor.

In an effort to redeem myself I set out on a 3 mile run this afternoon. Really, if someone would schedule races to be in the afternoon they would probably have a better turnout. My run was a total fail. My shin was seizing the entire time and I was sure it was going to erupt in flames. I stopped at an unusual amount of stop signs to stretch it before finally limping home.

I've decided I need a quick and easy breakfast in my life so I made a batch of deliciousness today. Gimme a few days to test it out and then I'll let you in on the recipe. 

Because it is Sunday, we headed over to TC's families house tonight for our usual dinner. Our little niece was in an especially good mood tonight and spent the tail end of dinner underneath the table and tickling my feet. Her curls kills me.

I'm about to turn in my final homework assignment for the day and then enjoy a lovely glass of Sweetheart wine, straight from the vineyards of Rockport, Maine. 

Here's to a good Monday and an even better week!