Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Foto Fun!!!

...definitely an outtake as my dad scratches his nose and Sally spits out her gum!
Uh...maybe we shouldn't look directly into the sun and what's up with my weird hand position?
Kristal, my day of lady, and me looking cray cray as I stare again into the sun! Kristal and I love our lists!
The boys thought they were hot stuff in their shades.
Then we take the shades off and they forgot how to smile!
Are they blessing him? Telling him not to run? I don't know what's going on here...
Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday Tidbits... in the WORLD is it already Thursday?!? I don't know but I'll take it!

*Every time I see Jeopardy, I think of Colin.
*Spent a good night with my mom last night. We got pedicures, ate at Kitaro, tried out Orange Leaf and baked a TON of chicken then froze it all.
*Have now done bikram 4 times, I feel like it should be getting easier but I'm not sure I'm getting any better. I can definitely tell a difference when I have a clear mind set vs thinking about what I need to do/did before/after class.
*Although Matt's gone for the week, I apparently have spread myself pretty thin. I feel as though I'm going to need a weekend to recover from my weekend!
*My laptop has to propped up on a pillow to stay open because it either lays completely flat or completely shut. I'm thinking of purchasing a new laptop during the tax free weekend coming up. I just HATE making that decision to spend that much money. UGH!!! The main reason I hate being an adult is financial.
*Have I mentioned that between the heat wave, bikram yoga, work and the 500 million things I have going on that I'm exhausted? Well, I am but I LOVE that feeling!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fair Feast...

...I hope yesterday's post didn't come off as too bitter. I do enjoy the fair and I love that Mattie has something he loves working at, I just am a girl and get my feelings hurt from time to time. I wanted to follow up that I went out to see him last night at the fair. First I hit up some bikram yoga, class just prepared me for the heat at the fair! When I got there, Mattie drove me around in his cart and we watched some of the tractor pull. Here's a pic of the two of us (remember just came from bikram):
The main reason Mattie loves the fair is because he gets to do manly stuff like fix that water tank thingie. When we drive around the fair, he's constantly asking if anyone needs help. I don't mind chilling in the cart and people's ALWAYS interesting.
Tuesday night is the laid-back night because it's not as busy so usually Tom and Matt make a huge meal i.e. 10 packs of chicken legs, 8 boxes of instant potatoes and a giant can of green beans:
Here's Matt and Topper manning the grill:
Uh...think we had enough chicken?
I had to eat and run because I needed to get home to let the dogs out. As I was leaving, it was pitch black and BAM! I ran right into a golf cart...awesomesauce-NOT! My car was fine and the golf cart was fine...or so they tell me. Guess I'll find out when I go later this week! OH! And we only grilled 7 packs, I had to bring 3 packs home. Good thing my momma's coming up tonight to help me figure out what to do with the other 3 since I can't refreeze them and I sure don't know how to grill them. I think we'll be eating chicken for awhile...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Perk, Downer, Frustrating...

...I'm a bachelorette this week! It's that time of year that my husband takes vacation and camps out at the fairgrounds with his BFF Tom. It's has its ups and downs.

Perk-I get a whole week of the house to one fighting over the channel, cooking dinners for two, spreading out and sleeping in the entire bed, not listening to the alarm go off at 4am for an hour (because he INSISTS on setting it that early), no packing lunches...its like a vacay for me too and I enjoy my break!

Downer-Since we first got together, I tried to get involved with the fair but honestly, no one has ever taken me up on the offer to help (maybe they just don't like me?). I've helped with the dinner auction a couple years but it's not the same as the week of the fair. The first 3 years we were together, I went to the fair EVERY night to visit him. I'd always offer to bring dinner or snacks but Matt always declined. A couple years ago, I went out one night to find out that Tom's gf had brought dinner for them and everyone (including her) raved about how good it was (it really was good!). After that I quit offering. I now instead make plans during that week to go out with the girls or my mom (my dad may even be my date to a wedding this weekend). I used to take my niece at least one night to the fair but honestly, it's a lot of driving to get her, to get to the fair, to drive her home for only a couple hours at the fair.

Frustrating-I know Matt enjoys having his own "thing." But it really hurts my feelings that he invests so much time into something without me. It's not that I'm against it, it's a great cause and good people. But I mean, he takes 1 of his 2 weeks of vacation to spend without me, he doesn't care that I don't come, he doesn't let me try to help or be a part of it. His excuse-he's done this since BA (Before Alyssa) when in actuality the first year we dated was the first year he started this. Its hard to deal with but I just try to look at the perks and know that after his one week with the fair and fun, he'll be back home. And I'm finding my niche with organizations that I can volunteer and be a part of as well. one said it's easy. It's all about finding the middle ground and each of us being happy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

End of an Era??? seems like every time I turn around another one of my bloggie friends is closing down their blog for a variety of reasons. Although I understand their reasonings (and totally agree on some!), it makes me sad. When I first moved to STL, I mainly hung out with old college friends. After I got to know my co-workers, I started making friends and hanging out with them.

A co-worker introduced me to Mattie and well the rest is history! Like any relationship, we were inseparable for the first part of our relationship but then came a point where we wanted to start hanging out with our friends. By this time, I had started a blog but had never even thought twice about meeting other bloggers. Well in May 2009, I met my first blog friends: Randall, Heidi, Angie and some other girl (who fell off the Earth, it was weird). After that, we hung out a few times and now I have a whole plethora of bloggie and Twitter friends!

So it makes me sad that my all my bloggie friends are signing off but hopefully we'll all still stay in touch. I know that I've not gotten nearly as many comments as I used to and I'm not sure if it's because blogging isn't the "in" thing anymore or people just don't like my content. But I have to be honest and say I know I haven't been the best commenter these days either because I've been crazy busy. But to all my loyal readers out there, I promise I won't sign off or close this 'ole thing down. Even if I get NO comments, I love looking back over the past 3 years and remembering and referencing. At some point, I may slack off and not blog as much but I'll be around. There, now you can all sleep easier at night! :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Foto Fun!!!

...more wedding outakes that did NOT make the album!

I think I was on the phone with Kristal at the time because the caterer wasn't there yet...either that or this was when my dad and I were both calling the caterer at the same time and I "calmly" told my dad if we were BOTH calling, they wouldn't answer. They FINALLY showed up.
Classic sister pose, I can't get over how opposite we are in looks and personality at time!
Here I am helping Butchie look beautiful!
This is one of our table decoration but I love the pic on it, it was taken the day after we got engaged...look closely!
We're just like little kids, have to look at the picture taken right away!
Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Deadline" Book Review...

...I was totally bummed when I finished the "Hunger Games" trilogy but I was not let down by the next book I read which was "Deadline" by Chris Crutcher. This is a young adult book (as are most of the books I read) that was an easy read (finished in 2 days) but wow! I read the summary on the back and I thought it was deep stuff then I got into the book and it got REAL deep.
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Summary: Ben is heading into his senior year of high school when he finds out that he has a rare disease that gives him less than a year to live. Ben decides to not get treatment and also not to tell anyone. He wants to live a "normal" life and live life to the fullest. His three main objectives for the year are 1. to go out for the football team (Ben's a scrawny little guy) 2. Go for the girl! and 3. push his teacher to his limits to find the "real" truth in government and history.

Thoughts: I REALLY liked this book! I try to think back to myself as a senior in high school and I'm not sure I could have done what Ben did because 1. no way would my parents be like Ben's (but that's another story within the story) and 2. I wouldn't be nearly that brave to go through all that alone. The more you read the book, the more secrets were revealed and you had to keep turning the page to find out what was going to happen. The book does use quite a bit of foul language and touches on very difficult subjects. I don't think this book will be a best-seller or turn into a movie but for a quick, easy read that gets your attention I would definitely recommend this book.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This for That...

...I got this:
...for that:
Sunday morning, Cece, Jenn and Jen and I met at Forest Park for to run 5 miles. We didn't do it for training or just to run, we purely did it so we could go to Jilly's for brunch. The food hangover and blister were SOOO worth it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bikram Yoga AKA Hot Yoga...

...last spring, Groupon was offering a deal for $40 for one-month unlimited Bikram yoga. I've never been a fan of yoga, seemed too much of a calm, peaceful sport and at the time, I had no idea what bikram yoga was. Then suddenly bikram, or hot yoga, started popping up all over my radar! When Jenn and Jen said they'd bought the Groupon, I was totally bummed because it was an AWESOME deal (normally it's $170/month for unlimited so $40/month for unlimited equals AMAZING!). Oh well, I'd filed it away under missed opportunity, don't pass this up again. Then this past Sunday, fate started working it's magic. Long story short, Jen's friend had bought the Groupon then she got a new place and neither location was convenient for her. Jen hooked the two of us up, I got the Groupon, she got her money and we were both two happy ladies.

So on to the class...first off, what is bikram yoga? Straight from the studio's website: "Bikram yoga is a demanding series of 26 postures (asanas) that works the entire body for 90 minutes. The class is conducted in a heated room to improve circulation, help eliminate toxins, and significantly reduce the risk of injury during deep muscle stretching."

Second, there's rules...yes rules. 1. You're supposed to drink like 100 ounces of water/day. 2. No talking in the room (MAJOR no no) and with that, you can't make any movements or get a drink if they're still in a pose. 3. You're not supposed to eat 1-3 hours before class. Those are just a few of the rules. I broke 3/3 rules! 1. I only drank like 60 ounces before class but I'm pretty sure I drank 100 after! 2. I did well the first day not talking until she asked me a specific question and instead of nodding, I said "yes!" Yikes! She didn't get on me too much. 3. I was STARVING as I neared the studio so I stopped and got a cereal bar...I was totally fine.

Once I got there, I got set-up in the room and before class even started, I already had sweat rolling down my forehead. When we got going, I could feel the sweat but when I bent over to touch my toes and saw sweat beading out of my calves, I was in shock because I didn't know I could sweat like that! By the end of the class, my navy shorts looked black, my sports bra and tank top were soaked and my hair looked like I'd just gotten out of the shower. I was so wet and sweaty that I could barely get a grip on my ankles during some of the poses! My thoughts on sweat...I love it! It means I've worked hard (even if I would have sweated regardless of the movement) and I just wish that every time I sweated that I would get tan too...wishful thinking, I know! OH! And you're not supposed to wipe your sweat, one lady kept doing it and the instructor kept telling her to stop then I think she walked over and took her towel away. They're hardcore! So even though at some points I had sweat rolling IN my nose and couldn't even grip my ankle, I did NOT wipe a single bead of sweat off until the very end.

Let me be honest in saying I've really NEVER done yoga before. I mean I've tried out a few videos here or there but they only kept my attention for 15-20 minutes. I was amazed at how flexible some of the people were especially the man in front of me (which for the record, I will not stand behind him again...old man, sweaty hairy armpits and a Speedo-no thanks! I'm just glad I only had the cereal bar before class.). I surprised myself and I thought I did VERY well. I mean I'm not touching my foot to my head or anything but I actively participated the entire class, which the lady told me the main goal of class #1 is to make it all the way through, and I didn't sit out of any poses. The last 10-15 minutes of class though, I was getting tired and hotter and I was ready to be done. Hopefully it'll get easier with more practice! The teacher recommends 10 times in 30 days and that's my goal plus whatever else my schedule will allow. This week I can only go 3 days but next week I think I can make it every day but we'll just see how my body reacts. Tonight I'm going back with Jen and I'm just hoping we don't get in trouble for talking! Now before I sign off, I'll leave you with pictures.

Before class (please disregard the hair, I swam before I went to class):
After and exhausted!
So have you done bikram or hot yoga? What's your thoughts? OH! Does anyone know how many calories you burn? My Fitness Pal keeps telling me that for 90 minutes, I only burned 300 calories. Maybe that's true but MAN, it felt like WAY more!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sherlock's Steak & Seafood...

...Saturday night, Mattie took me to Sherlock's for date night. We got dressed up and headed to the local restaurant in Cottleville. I've been wanting to go here FOREVER even though I'd heard mixed reviews from Jen and Heidi. Here's Mattie outside the restaurant:

I ordered the Chicken Capelini which had no flavor whatsoever. Matt ended up eating my leftovers later that night as he was snacking around the house. He ordered the Grilled Salmon with lime and dill butter, he said it was pretty awesome but his sides weren't great. We split a Cheesecake Bomb for dessert and, well, it was cheesecake...not a whole lot more to say. I must say that the bread they served was fantastic especially since it was served warm.

I have to be honest...I should have listened to Jen and Heidi-this place was NOT fab. It was decent but for the prices, very disappointing. It's also the local joint for the older residents to come hang out at so we were definitely WAY below the age range. We had a Foodie STL coupon which was $10 off so basically we got the tip for "free." Bottom line, we've been there, tried that and probably won't be going back.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Foto Fun!!!

...continuing on with Friday Foto Fun, the next few Fridays will be outakes from our wedding. I only have made it through pre-wedding photos so far and I have like 20!!! Anyways, easy and fun reads for a Friday.

Matt's mom helping him with his flower. Matt's not so sure about what she's doing and I really wonder what she's thinking or just said...
Here's H being a little ham!
First off, you will never find a picture like this, my sister and my mother in one photo-this is history people! Besides that, I love this pic because, besides me, everyone is laughing and happy. I think I was worried because they thought the hook was broken. Never fear, all was good!
Don't look at the spot on my back (it's been there for years!) but I love my Granny's face on the left hand side...we were STILL looking for the hook!
Maybe having a Bridezilla moment as I leave the hotel for the wedding?

Happy Friday all!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday Tidbits...

...random thoughts for a random Thursday!

*While I love a good book, I hate finishing it because I hate finding a new one. I mean I'm loving the characters and the plot and then its done and I have to start all over again. What are your thoughts on this?

*I went an entire week without running and I'm paying for it. I suggest to NOT do this if you want to keep up your cardio and speed...just saying.

*I don't live in the town where I grew up. I sometimes miss going to the store and seeing at least 3 people you know, getting hugs from my friend's parents as a hello and knowing everyone around town. It kind of makes me sad that up here, it's like a big deal if I see someone at the store that I know and even then its usually someone that comes into my work and its just a polite nod.

*Matt dropped chocolate syrup on Shadow's head and didn't clean it up. It got hard and sticky so I cut it out, yeah...the hair on his head is patchy. Matt said, "All you had to do was get a wet towel and clean it off?" I gave him the evil eye.

*I am totally loving CLIF Mojo bars!!! It's like perfect for me...pretzels, chocolate, peanut butter...and probably some other stuff that's good for you. They're dangerous though because I could eat like 10 in one setting. What's your favorite "healthy" snack?

OH! And here's the before picture from Biggest Winner, taken April 27:
I think that's all the tidbits I have for now! Matt's planning us a date this weekend...I'm interested to see what he's got planned for us...any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Mockingjay" Book Review...

..."Mockingjay" the third and final book of the "Hunger Games" trilogy. You can read my reviews on "Hunger Games" here and "Catching Fire" here. The first two books, I read in like two days but I took my time reading this last one because I didn't want the series to end!

Summary: Katniss has been saved from the Quarter Quell, District 12 has been destroyed and District 13 really does exist!!! Katniss' bold action during the Quarter Quell has officially started the war between the Capitol and the rebels and Katniss is THE Mockingjay AKA the rebel leader. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol but District 13 saves him only to find he's been "hijacked" and is now a threat to Katniss' life. Katniss vows to kill President Snow and end the war.

Review: So a LOT goes on in this book that I had to leave out of the review but I didn't want to ruin it for those of you who haven't read it yet. I felt like this book moved a little slow at times especially in the beginning and then BAM-the last 3-4 chapters TONS of stuff going on. But at the end of the book, it seemed like everything was just summarized and no real details...I'm a detail kind of person, people! I feel like the author skips a lot of important events by making Katniss get hurt and then people summarizing to her what happened vs actually playing it out in the book. My heart was broken in this book because some people die that I really "knew" and liked. The whole Gale/Peeta situation was really played up in books one and two and then in this book, I think it was obvious who she would pick because she kind of backed off the other one and so did he so that wasn't a shocker too much. I wasn't a fan of the "resolve" between the two of them because it still felt like she choose the one by default even though she said she would have picked him anyways. I was thrilled with the demise of Snow, seemed as though he still got "his way" despite everything he put the districts and victors through. Buttercup was a very small character that after I read the book and thought back on it, I loved him but I'm also a big animal lover. Sorry to be vague-just trying not to spoil it!

And to those of you that have read the trilogy, do you not find it ironic that the whole series started with Katniss volunteering to save her sister? So the question is...if she hadn't, would the outcome have been the same? Would the rebels have revolted against the Capitol? Would everyone go through as much pain and suffering? Because in the end, Katniss ultimately had the same outcome. Now on the other side of the fence, by volunteering, Katniss found Peeta, the Games ended and hopefully everyone ends up leaving happily ever after...although it wasn't necessarily spelled out for us.

My favorite of this series was "Hunger Games" followed by "Mockingjay" then "Catching Fire" was last. If I had to pick, I would definitely say I like this series better than the "Twilight" series and I'm SOOO excited for the movie...coming out March 2012 (although I think the actors are way cuter than they are portrayed in the book if that makes sense)! Let me know your thoughts!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Biggest Winner Results...

...well, the Biggest Winner contest ended July 1 and last Thursday, the final results were in! You can read more about the contest here but basically, it was a county-wide 8 week weight loss program put on by the local hospitals.

It was tough but it definitely kept me on track during camp which is an easy time for me to "let go" because I'm stressed and busy and write off exercise and good food choices without a second thought. I did take a "cheat week" last week so I don't lose my mind but I'm back on track this week and still trying to lose.

Sadly, I did not win the contest but I wasthisclose! During the contest, I lost a total of 26 pounds which is 13% of my body weight. The third place person lost 15%.  I may not have won the grand prize but I'll definitely take the loss and be VERY happy with that. I don't know for sure what place I got but I know I was in the top 10 out of like 133 people. I got recognition and a bag of freebie stuff for losing over 10%.

They also had a drawing for door prizes and I was crossing my fingers I wouldn't win the one from my work...which I didn't but I did win the door prize from, basically, my work's competitor! How funny! I got a stadium seat, more cups and 2 Family Day passes to the gym/ I just need a family to take! The main lady running the presentation was HORRIBLE at pronouncing last names. I mean she botched Reid and Tarbox so can you imagine when she got to my super German married last name? Yeah, she kept saying, "Alyssa Grody..." After the second time she publicly called my "Grody" she asked if she was close and I told her absolutely not. By the time I picked up my certificate and she called me "Grody" for the THIRD time, I straight up told her to STOP SAYING THAT! ANYWAYS...would you like a photo comparison?

They're supposed to be emailing us our before pic but in the meantime, here's a pic of me on May 1.

And here's a pic I snapped of my swag and certficate on the last night (July 7):

I am right about at the weight I was when Matt and I started dating and it feels GREAT! Starting August 8, I'm going to start training for a fall half (not sure if I'm going to run one but at least training) and I'm still doing speed training on Thursday nights. So if anyone in the STL area wants to get together for a run...give me a call!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Floatin' 2011...

...well, we're home yet again from another year of floating! You can read about 2010 here and 2008 here. It's a good time because of the great people but also because I get a chance to be "unplugged" meaning no phones, no Internet, nada! We only get to see these friends once a year so there's plenty to keep us entertained as we catch up on what's been going on in each other's lives for the past year. Okay, on to this year's recap!!!

Friday morning, Matt was loading up my car before we left. Shadow snuck out of the house and jumped in the back...apparently he wanted to go too!
Randomness of the float:
*Once again, we got on the river at 9am and didn't get off until 6pm...I'm a lobster! We got seperated from the sunscreen canoe and I never got to apply! :(
*There are lots of dirty old men on the river. That's all I have to say.
*Beer plus root beer schnapps equals deliciousness!
*Matt and I got seperated from our group twice so we just banked to wait for them. I pulled out a book to read and you would have thought I had a third eyeball. I got sooo much grief that I didn't even get to read any! I did talk some of the girls in our group into reading "Hunger Games" trilogy.
*People do REALLY stupid stuff when drinking and when water's involved that makes me REALLY nervous i.e. scale a steep hill, passout IN THE WATER, try to paddle. (luckily none of this was with our group).
*I played beer pong for the first time ever! Matt nevers lets me play since I don't drink that much (I always tell him he can just drink all the beer but he doesn't go for that). Luckily, my friend's husband was down with that so he and I partnered up. It turned out to not be an issue since we creamed the other time and I made the winning shot!

Matt and I planned on having hot dogs for dinner Saturday night. When we were leaving the house Friday, he asked what we were having with. I grabbed some potatoes from the counter and said, "Potatoes?" Well, he kept checking one pack on the fire (on the right) and they turned out WONDERFUL. However, next time, he should check both packs because the others were charred black-oops!
Remember when I said I was a lobster? Case and point...see the red at the top and the pure white ghostliness below the bra line...yeah, I'm on fire (like Katniss!). I'm pretty sure I may have had a mild case of sun poisoning along with too much junk food because when I laid down to sleep on Saturday night, I spent 3 hours convincing myself NOT to puke (and no, it wasn't from two much alcohol-I had 2 beers all day and that was it).
'Cole and I chilling Saturday night around the campfire. Love her and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Once again, another succesful year!!! I do have to say that this year it didn't seem like near as many people on the river nor as wild and crazy. However, when you're half asleep and someone shoots off an exploding firework-not cool, my friend, not cool. Until next year when we float again and I'm sure to fry!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Foto Fun!!!

...I know my halves have come and gone but I wanted to share some of the professional photos from the race. This year both of my halves also posted a video of your finish! Very cool but think you look good and strong and athletic and I just look like a hot, floppin' mess! Anyways on to the pictures...

Here is me stopping my watch (my watch ended up having my exact official time-how cool is that!) at the end of the Mini Marathon in Indy. This is what I look like after 7 hours in the emergency room, a 4 hour drive across three states and 13.1 miles...not bad, eh? I also feel like I look a bit like a giant but whatevs!
This is MB and I crossing the "bricks" in the Brickyard. They were WAY smaller than I expected...see it's just that little bitty strip of bricks:
Now on to Hospital Hill...this is probably like mile 7ish. I'm in the hot pink with my two She-Ra pacers on either side...Shelley in lime shorts and Sherrie in the white tank. They are AWESOME!
Look at the intensity on that face...or wait, is that heat, exhaustion??? Let's go with intensity!
Get ready for the finish line photos! I've noticed in a lot of these pics that sometimes I'm not even touching the ground, I'm floating like a butterfly!
Now I think this look is desperation, I was probably thinking, "Hurry up and cross that finish line so you can pee!" I also think I have an awesome runner's least in this pic.
Tada-finished!!! Now where is that Porta-A-Potty....

And that my friends is my Friday Foto Fun! Race pictures are always so much fun to look at but remember, you gotta have a sense of humor because there are NOT always the most flattering!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Catching Fire" Book Review...

...over the holiday weekend, I started and finished "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins. This is follow-up book the "Hungry Games" where you can read my review here. So here's the summary, in my words of "Catching Fire":

Since Peeta and Katniss return from winning the Hungry Games, they haven't spoken despite being "in love." The time comes for them to go on their Victory Tour but before they head out the President of Panem comes to visit Katniss informing her that her scene at the Hungry Games has put the districts on edge and about to revolt so she MUST stop this. However, she only makes things worst and when she returns home from the Victory Tour, security gets tighter in her District 12. She and the other citizens learn the new ways and do the best they can. Then it is announced that the 75th Hungry Games, or the Quarter Quell, will all be victors from previous Games which means, of course, that Katniss being the only female victor in her district will automatically be going back in. The rest of the book is all about the 75th Games where her and Peeta both know the Head Gamemaker won't make an exception to have two victors again...

While I did like this book and wanted to keep reading, it wasn't quite the page turner that the first book was. I felt like I could also see that Katniss had grown-up quite a bit from the first book to the second and was seriously considering marrying Gale. The Games also felt like there was more coming from the Gamemakers to rid the contestants whereas in the first book there was more hand to hand playing. This book didn't focus so much on the Games as it had in the first book which was odd. In my opinion, if you devoted an entire book the Games then it's weird to not focus that much attention to them in the second book...but that's just me.

Honestly, I felt like this book was just written to bridge the first book to the third book. There was no resolve at the end of this book, you knew you'd have to keep on reading to find out what happened. So one more book,  "Mockingjay," to go, let's hope it's more like "Hunger Games" and not "Catching Fire."

Have you read this book or series? What did you think about "Catching Fire?"

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Parade & Deliciousness...

...on actual Fourth of July, I got to be in the local parade for work. It was a 2.1 mile walk so I was looking forward to the exercise until it started pouring down rain! Before it did, I got some pics of the other floats. This is a local church, I thought the gumball idea was cute:
This was another local church that they'd built out of cardboard but don't the stained glass windows look great? We listened to "God Bless America" from their float on repeat the whole route!
A giant roller skate for the roller rink:
There were still quite a few people out there despite the rain. Here we have umbrellas in extremes...the teeny tiny lady bug that barely covers dad's head and then the gigantic beach one that could fit a small town!
Here's what I did to stay dry...raincoat! It worked out pretty well, only the bottom of my shorts that were showing got wet but I think I might have drowned my camera...cross your fingers that it revives!
Here's our great float driver Mattie and I who yelled at me in the middle of the parade to roll up the passenger window! I finished zipping my jacket up first THEN rolled up the window...priorities!
My husband had to work at the local festival 9 hours on Sunday and 10 hours on Monday. When I got home from the parade, I turned on the crockpot and started the Slow Cookin' Pulled Chicken recipe from Hungry Girl. I also attempted to make potato salad for the first time. I will have to say that the hardest part of the salad for me was getting the eggs all the way boiled!!! We also had leftover mac-n-corn casserole that I took to Jen's the night before and some DQ for dessert.

Verdict: DELICIOUS!!! Seriously, the pulled chicken or pork from Hungry Girl, always looks a little sketchy until the end and it turns out FAB!!! We had ours on whole wheat tortillas and I actually REALLY loved that! I omitted the celery from the potato salad and not even half of an onion...I think I could have omitted the entire onion. Anyways, full tummies were had at the G-house and we'll definitely be making those recipes again. Here are the recipes-enjoy!!!

Slow Cookin' Pulled Chicken from Hungry Girl

1 1/2 lb. raw boneless skinless lean chicken breasts, halved
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. brown sugar (not packed)
2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. garlic powder
Optional: red pepper flakes, to taste

Place all ingredients except the chicken in the crock pot. Stir until mixed. Add chicken and coat well with the sauce.

Cover and cook on high for 3 - 4 hours OR on low for 7 - 8 hours, until chicken is fully cooked.

Remove all the chicken and place it in a bowl. Shred each piece using two forks -- one to hold the chicken in place and the other to scrape across the meat and shred it. Return the shredded chicken to the crock pot, and mix well with the sauce.

If you're serving a group, keep the crock pot on its lowest setting, so the chicken stays warm. If you like, season to taste with red pepper flakes. Eat up!

PER SERVING (1/2 cup): 149 calories, 1g fat, 462mg sodium, 10g carbs, <0.5g fiber, 9g sugars, 22.5g protein -- PointsPlus® value 3*

This shredded BBQ chicken is FANTASTIC over salads, piled onto light buns, stuffed inside high-fiber tortillas with (rinsed) cole slaw, or eaten all by itself is what the Hungry Girl website says.
Great American Potato Salad by Kraft
1/2 cup KRAFT Real Mayo Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 cups cubed red potatoes, cooked, cooled
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/3 cup dill pickle relish

1 MIX first 5 ingredients in large bowl.
2 ADD remaining ingredients; mix lightly.
3 REFRIGERATE several hours or until chilled.

per serving  1/2 cup serving

Calories 190 Total fat 12 g Saturated fat 2 g Cholesterol 55 mg Sodium 400 mg Carbohydrate 18 g
We omitted the stalks of celery because Matt and I both HATE celery.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July Awesomeness Courtesy of Cash Cowan...

...I hope you all had an awesome Fourth of July! I got a much needed break from work and lots of friend time along with some awesome eats. On Sunday, Jen AKA Cash Cowan, opened her house to use for her Annual Fourth of July Awesomeness Party complete with Jello shots!!!
Let me tell you I did a number on those! Jen is such a good friend that she made some non-alcoholic ones for her prego friend and her non-drinking buddy me. Thanks Jen! There was soo much food and I was too busy stuffing my face to take any pictures of it but we had Oreo Truffles, Smiley Face cookies, dips and chips, burgers and brats and a ton of brocoli salad....unfortunately due to a faulty lid, one batch met its fate on Jen's kitchen floor BUT the party went on!!! Here's a pic of the Twit ladies: (L to R): Jenn, Cece, me and Jen
The darling hubby and I who was all nervous because he wouldn't know anyone but I had to PRY away from the party knowing he had to be up at 4am on Monday:
Cece with her handsome son Danny who was awesome. The kid got to hang out in Mr. Cash Cowan's Man Cave and we barely noticed he was there. During the fireworks, he just sat on his momma's lap and was good to go!
Fire in the sky!!!
How we spent most of the fireworks display, staring into the some points, I did fear for my life just a tiny little bit!
The team of Pyros! Thanks for letting Matt and Danny join you guys.
Here's Jen, Julie and I post fireworks display...Julie will be a married woman next time I see her!
Cece and me...thanks for letting me borrow your chair vs sitting on the crowd since hubs' forgot ours!
It was a great way to celebrate the holiday and always a fun time to hang out with friends! The only downside to the night is that when we got home, poor Emma was too terrified to go outside to potty with all the fireworks going off. I settled in to watch "Titanic" and stayed up until midnight when the fireworks stopped and she FINALLY went out! The things we do for our puppers!!!