One month without soda (and counting)

Well I did it! For real this time. It wasn’t as hard as my last attempt was. I had a few temptation moments, but I didn’t give in. So I celebrated last week- with a Sprite. And found that I couldn’t even finish it. It just wasn’t tasty to me at all. Then on Sunday night I had another glass of Sprite. And it made me feel sick. So I really might be finished with soda now. And that feels fantastic!

I’m not completely finished with sugary drinks. I do indulge in the occasional hot chocolate or lemonade. But compared with the huge amount I was guzzling down this time last year, it’s nothing. It’s mostly all water, all the time. And my tummy thanks me for that.

So here’s one more small step in trudging towards that ever-elusive “healthy lifestyle”. And one more thing knocked off my 52 in 52 list.

Goin’ back to Cali (part two)

We woke up Monday morning and relaxed at the hotel for a bit before heading out to breakfast. Little Man brought his guitar so he and Grandpa M. can play together this summer.

I love these socks. Yellow and fuzzy like tennis balls.

We breakfasted at the fantastic Gaffey Street Diner.

I cannot say enough good things about this place! Biscuits as big as your head, eggs with chorizo and avocado, and gigantic blueberry pancakes.

We had the sweetest waitress. I wish I wasn’t so terrible with names. But a great time was had my all and we left with our bellies dragging along behind us.

Our next stop was at the S. S. Lane Victory. We were disappointed that we wouldn’t be in town for one of the reenactments, they look super cool. The volunteers there are really great. They’ll strike up a conversation with you, or in LM’s case, try to put you to work. I took a bazillian pictures, but here are use a few.

We got to clambor around a jeep.

And pretend to shoot some big guns.

I loved their collection of old war posters and newspapers. I could have stayed there all day.

View of L. A. from the deck.

After we left the ship, we stopped at Randy’s Doughnuts. Mmmmmm doughnuts…

I made Charles take the obligatory Annual Photo in a Hotel Lobby. When I saw him make this face, I threatened to put it on the internet and he said fine 😛

Then there was this…

A lot more of that actually.

For dinner that night we went back to Beach Pizza. It was even better than the night before. We’ll definitely be hitting them up next time we’re in town.

The next day we flew back home. It was another long day, but we were So Happy to be home. And I have a new infatuation with Pregnant in Heels. And it was awesome to show Little Man the new place. He really likes it.

So there it is. Our 4th trip to California. Good times 🙂

Goin’ back to Cali (part one)

Last weekend we made our annual pilgrimage to California to pick up Little Man. It’s something we look forward to every year. We love traveling and exploring new places together. We try to do at least one new thing every year. This year we did several.

We flew Vigin America for the first time. It was pretty neat. You come on board and they have neon lights and music. They have a fabulous in-flight entertainment system. We’ve seen something similar on larger Delta planes, but I think they’re standard for VA. So I got to watch all the trashy E! that I wanted. The only small complaint I have is that they only bring the drinks cart around once. Even on 6 hour flights. I think they want you to use the console to put in orders for drinks sandwiches and things. It just seems a little cheap to me. Especially considering they charge $4 for HALF a peanut butter sandwich!

We had a nice two hour drive to pick up Little Man. It was so fantastic to see him! We chatted for a while, gathered his gear, and went on our way. Our first stop was very close to his house. We wanted to check out this pizza place that he always talks about. The staff was really nice and the guy behind the counter knew LM. The pizza and potato wedges were pretty tasty.

We drove back down to L.A. and stopped by the Griffith Observatory. We couldn’t find parking anywhere close, and by this time Jason and I were on around hour 15 of traveling. We decided we needed to head to the hotel. But we stopped by the side of the road and snapped a few pics. It was really gorgeous and I hope we can go there next time.

We checked into the Custom Hotel. It has a really neat modern look with some retro thrown in to warm it up.

This was the first time we’ve stayed there. I really wanted to love it, but it had some major drawbacks. Like the AC didn’t work. Both nights. I’m not sure if we’ll stay there again. But it did have some pretty cool decor.

We went in search of dinner and found it right down the street from the hotel. Beach Pizza was fantastic. So fantastic that we ate there two nights in a row. Nice staff, great pizza, and close to the hotel. Can’t beat that. We ate and watched a basketball game. Relaxing way to end a super busy day.

This will count as one more thing off the 52 in 52 list. I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about Day Two.

52 in 52 First Quarter Update

In a couple of days I’ll be 3 months into my 52 in 52 project. I’m kind of surprised at how far I’ve gotten on my list. Some things I’ve completed, several are in progress, many I haven’t started on, and a couple of them I might have to abandon.  Looking through it, I’m excited to knock off a few more things. Here is my progress so far…

  1. Blog my challenges Working on it 🙂
  2. Go parasailing We have the gift certificate to do this, but due to circumstances beyond our control (moving, sickness, chest pain, etc.) haven’t been able to yet.
  3. Go ice skating Ditto #2
  4. Complete the exercise my age challenge (34 straight days of exercising) Attempted once and did 17 or 18 straight days, which I’m really proud of, but fell off that wagon. Will definitely try again.
  5. Go a month without soda This one I “almost” made. And Jason says I should have counted this as a success. I was on Week three with no soda when we had to travel for a family health emergency. During the week of traveling+hospital visits+more traveling, I had 2 or 3 sodas. So while not a complete success, definitely close. Will be trying this one again too.
  6. Do 144 layouts for my Twelve class (I’m counting ones I did before my birthday, since I was already a month into the class) So behind on this. Might have to be abandoned.
  7. Finish up last year’s P365 layouts
  8. Print my 2011 P365 book
  9. Meditate
  10. Do something new in L.A.
  11. Ride a bike
  12. Do a ballet workout
  13. Do a bellydancing workout
  14. Stay up to date with this 2012 Project Life Not completely up to date, but close. 
  15. Try 52 new recipes (40 healthy) 6 healthy down as of 5-8
  16. 3 (or 4) Times Twelve project (a family photo each month) Can be found here. Caught up and blogged, except last month’s
  17. Donate 3 pints of blood
  18. Volunteer
  19. Tour a sewage treatment plant
  20. Pick some food
  21. Grow some herbs and use themCaprese Salad
  22. Have a weekend without screens (phone, computer, iPad, TV)
  23. Do something new in St. Augustine
  24. Send something to Charles each month he’s not with us So far so good. Card in February and Easter box in April. Nothing in March though. I probably won’t blog these, but I might do a post with ideas for packages.
  25. Read 10 books from the NYT bestseller list
  26. Take a dance class
  27. Create a vision board
  28. Watch 10 movies from IMDB’s top 150
  29. Have a candlelight dinner Cinco de Mayo
  30. Have fondue
  31. Go to 5 different beaches One down, four to go!
  32. Have a picnic in the park
  33. Do Couch to 5k
  34. Go camping
  35. Wear everything in my fancy drawer once (or get rid of it)
  36. Get a checkup
  37. Go to the dentist
  38. Make something with puff pastry
  39. Take a class (other than Twelve)
  40. Find out what it will take to finish my Associate’s
  41. Do at least 5 things on my Pinterest board while Charles is here.
  42. Build a sandcastle
  43. Go geocaching
  44. Do 50 push ups in one go
  45. Do 12 Roundups Way behind on this. Might need to be abandoned.
  46. Do 5 hybrid projects Two done, one blogged. The first was pretty fugly, so might not post about that one. The other is here
  47. Get a tan
  48. Try a new hairstylePigtails
  49. Watch the whole series of Lost
  50. Have people over
  51. Get a passport
  52. Plan a nice (cheap) birthday week for Jason“Jason is Great” Week


When I wrote this list three months ago, I had no idea how much things would change in such a short time! My mom had an unexpected health scare, we drove to Nashville and back, got a chance to buy our condo, got that snatched away, found a new place, moved, Jason got offered a new job and accepted… it’s been quite a whirlwind! Just writing it all out makes me tired. But between all of that, I still did quite a few things on my list. I’m really proud of us and all we’ve accomplished the past three months.
I think I do better with small one off or short term goals, as opposed to big year long goals. The two that I’m thinking about abandoning are both yearly goals.
At least 10 of these will be marked off this summer. Super excited for that!
Ready to ramp up the healthy recipes in the coming month.
The physical challenges have been hard with some health issues I’ve been having. I will probably work on the bulk of them this fall.
Overall I’m pretty pleased with the progress so far. My goals are about having fun, working towards a healthier lifestyle, and spending time with the people I love. And I’m definitely doing that. 🙂

Cinco De Mayo

We had such a wonderful weekend! I’ve never really been into Cinco de Mayo before. Our old neighborhood celebrated it enough without us. But for some reason last week I started missing the old place a little and decided we needed to do something. But first we needed to do some house shopping. And garden shopping. My early Mother’s Day present was a trip to the Home Depot garden center.

We got basil, mint, cilantro, and some impatients. We went to several other stores and ended up with bar stools and a new coffee maker. Our old coffee maker was on it’s last legs. And we’e been looking for bar stools for a month or so and finally found ones we loved.

We picked up a few groceries and headed home. Jason put together the stools and I potted all the plants and herbs.

It’s so awesome to see our place coming together! Also great to be able to finally use our balcony.

We turned on the Cinco de Mayo Pandora station and it felt like home. (So strange that Spanish music feels like home to me when I don’t speak any Spanish. But our old place was mostly Hispanic so I guess I just got used to hearing it all the time).

We set out chips, dip, and taquitos. It was so nice and relaxing to sit outside and talk. We also saw the Super Moon, but didn’t get any good pictures.

Really fantastic night. Loved every minute of it!

*Since we ate dinner by the light of a citronella candle, this will mark another thing off my 52 in 52 list

“Jason Is Great” Week

I was a week late in celebrating Jason’s birthday. I am a bad wife. 😛 In my defense, his birthday was the day after we moved and we had already planned to celebrate it later than the actual day.

Here are a few of the highlights…

I made this. It’s my first piece of “homemade home decor”. I’m not really into the whole handmade scene, but I’m definitely willing to dip my toe in. And the more I see, the more excited I get to start making fun stuff for our new place.

(Frame is from Target. Fonts are American Typewriter and Lobster 1.4)

I also made Sausage Pasta from this recipe from All Recipes. My photos were bad, definitely not blog-worthy. One of Jason’s favorite recipes.

I made this lemon cake recipe from Ina Garten. It was good, but a lot more lemony than I was expecting. I guess that happens when you use real lemons 😛 Unfortunately it was way too much cake for us and I had to toss most of it. Note to self- half all future baking.

I also made Fish Tacos. So tasty 🙂

The last Favorite Meal I made consisted of Apricot Dijon Chicken and Broccoli gratin.

The “week” ended up stretching a little longer than expected, but it was nice getting to cook all of his favorite meals.

As for presents, he was going back and forth between an Apple TV, the TiVo Premiere and a bluetooth for the car. He ended up going with the Motorola Roadster 2. He’s really liking it and it helps a lot on the longer commute. He’s able to use Siri to call and text me, and listen to Pandora through the radio.

I think overall it was an okay birthday experience. I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to, but I think our cheaper holidays make us more creative. And I can mark off one more thing on my 52 in 52 list.


There is a very good chance I won’t be cooking much “teal” food in the next couple of weeks. Food will come from boxes and cans and jars. And I’m (mostly) ok with that. When we get through the move I can get back to normal.

Some things I’ve made in the past couple of weeks-

Crab Cakes
2 cups crab (or tuna or salmon, I’ve tried them all)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1/8 cup finely chopped celery
3 TB mayonaise
1 egg, beaten
dash of Tobasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste
flour for dusting
3 TB vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients, except flour and oil.
Shape into four patties and dust lightly with flour. Heat oil over medium high heat. Cook cakes until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes.

1/2 bag coleslaw mix
2 TB mayonaise (more or less)
splash of rice wine vinegar
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Mix everything together. This is not an exact science. Sometimes I have cilantro, sometimes not. They go Great with the crab cakes

Both recipes came Saving Dinner the Low Carb Way with slight variations.

I also made Jason’s favorite Wilbur Cookies. I’ve been making these so long I’m not sure where the recipe originated from.

Wilbur Cookies
1 box cake mix (I’ve tried a lot of different ones but our favorite is Devil’s Food)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tub whipped cream
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix egg and whipped cream. Slowly add in cake mix until all is added in. Batter will be really stiff and this is best done with a stand mixer. Pop into the fridge for an hour. This is not totally necessary, but it will make the dough much easier to handle.
Roll dough into balls. I use a mellon baller to make sure the balls are relatively close in size. Roll the balls in the powdered sugar.
Place balls on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Let the cookies sit on the sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to a cookie rack to cool.

*Photo taken last December

Elise Blaha inspires me in so many areas. I made her Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns and they were Awesome!

Another blog I’m really excited about lately is Macheesmo. He makes healthier versions of fast food and convenience foods. Last week he did a week of variations of frozen foods and I tried his frozen burritos. Definitely a new favorite. We ate about five of them over the course of last weekend and froze the rest. I followed his recipe exactly except we couldn’t find the green chili sauce at our grocery store so we left it out. I also used Fire Roasted diced tomatoes instead of the plain ones.

And this is why I’ll never be a proper food blogger… I forget to take photos and when I do, they’re usually not great quality. And I pile a bunch of recipes in one post when they really should be separated. I will work on that.

The Buns and Burritos will qualify for 2 more healthy recipes for my 52 in 52 Challenge.

Caprese salad

I made this tonight.

Caprese salad
I can’t even call this a recipe really. Slice a tomato. Slice some fresh mozzarella. Stack them together Chop some basil and sprinkle it on top of the stack. Add salt and pepper and splash on some balsamic vinegar. If you want, add a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Oh and if you have a cute heart sandwich cutter feel free to use that 🙂 And that’s it!
I used fresh basil that I’ve been growing for the past couple of weeks, so this marks off one of my 52 in 52.

Hatsume Fair!

Every year we go to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens for the Hatsume Fair. This year we went with Antoine and Heidi. Since it was also St. Patty’s Day, Jason and I dressed up in our finest hats,  green nail polish (me), and big boots (him). It was a great day, lovely weather, lots of sunshine. A little too much for me, I got a mild sunburn that’s just getting to that sexy itching and peeling stage.

Hatsume is probably my favorite of all the festivals that the Morikami puts on. There are the usual vendors, food, taiko drumming, and tea ceremony. But the fun part is checking out all the people in their anime costumes. Some people really go all out and it’s cool to just sit and eat soba noodles and people watch.

A couple of new-to-us things this year. We heard part of a talk on cosplay, saw a martial arts demonstration, and watched a costume competition. Other highlights included a turtle doing yoga, frozen lemonade, and of course having company. Jason and I always go by ourselves so it was nice having people with us this time. It was Antoine and Heidi’s first time at the Morikami, so I hope they had fun 🙂

I used Wendy Zine’s Round It Up Actions for the collages.

Oh and I also did my hair in a new way, which qualifies for my 52 in 52 weeks challenge. Usually I do not advocate pigtails in anyone over the age of six. But it was St. Patty’s Day. And I was wearing a sparkly cowboy hat. So I had no choice.

Recipes I made (February 19-March 14)

I didn’t do a whole lot of cooking at the end of February because of the trip, but here is what I’ve made the past month or so.

My favorite Shrimp Salad– I could eat this every day. I originally got it from Oxygen magazine.

1 container field greens (I use organic from WalMart)
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined (I usually just use salad shrimp)
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can mandarin orange segments, drained
1/4 cup green onions (I’ve also used chopped red onion)
Honey mustard dressing (I use Ken’s Steak House)

Combine all salad ingredients and finish off with honey mustard dressing.

I also made Vegetarian Lentil Soup, another recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen. Not a pretty soup, but very tasty.

We watched an episode of the Sandwich King, and he inspired two recipes in one week.

Meatloaf Sandwiches and Tomato Soup

I made a couple more recipes, but they were not successes. Apparently my slow cooker wasn’t working properly. I wish I’d figured that out before I ruined two pots of soup.

I also made my favorite Tricked Out Tuna Salad Sandwiches.

So I’m having a bit of a conundrum over what constitutes “healthy” in my 52 in 52 Challenge. The tomato soup definitely counts as a new healthy recipe. Not so sure about the meatloaf. Can meatloaf be healthy? So I’ve decided that I’m going to use “healthy” in the broadest sense of the word… anything that isn’t dessert, fried, or cocktails is going to be healthy. For now, at least. So this post will count as 2 healthy recipes. 4 out of 52 total so far.