Sunday, August 30, 2009

Book Club Picks

At our XO alum book club last week we picked the books for October, November & December. Here they are...

Juggling Elephants by Jones Loflin & Todd Musig - In this fun parable written by corporate trainers Loflin and Musig, the hero, Mark, gets more than just an afternoon of family time out of a visit to the circus with his daughter—he gets a new way of organizing his life. Using the extended metaphor of the three-ring circus, this short volume is written as a dialogue between Mark and his ringmaster mentor, who teaches him how to better coordinate the activities happening in each ring. Readers who take themselves too seriously might have trouble getting past the large print, circus illustrations and a dialogue style more commonly found in children's books. But the book passes along several circus maxims that easily translate to balancing professional and personal relationships as well as one's personal pursuits, such as the ringmaster cannot be in all three rings at once and the key to the success of the circus is having quality acts in all three rings. While the advice is not new, the presentation helps it stick in your head, increasing the odds of keeping your act together.

The House on Tradd Street by Karen White - Practical Melanie Middleton hates to admit she can see ghosts. But she's going to have to accept it. An old man she recently met has died, leaving her his historic Tradd Street home, complete with housekeeper, dog and a family of ghosts anxious to tell her their secrets.Enter Jack Trenholm, a gorgeous writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries. He has reason to believe that diamonds from the Confederate Treasury are hidden in the house. So he turns the charm on with Melanie, only to discover he's the smitten one...It turns out Jack's search has caught the attention of a malevolent ghost. Now, Jack and Melanie must unravel a mystery of passion, heartbreak and even murder.

Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh - First presented in Freakonomics, the story of a young sociologist who embedded himself in Chicago’s most notorious gang and captured the world’s attention. Gang Leader for a Day is the fascinating full story of how Sudhir Venkatesh gained entrance into the lives of a group of drug-dealers and went on to witness—and participate in—events that have rarely been described in print. A brazen, page-turning, and fundamentally honest view of the morally ambiguous, highly intricate, often corrupt struggle to survive in an urban war zone, it is also an emotional and complicated look at the friendship that develops between the sociologist and a gang leader, two ambitious men a universe apart.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fridays Dose of Brilliance

Dear Keiko,
Thank you.

Keiko thought this site would be great for today's post and I really must concur. All my really close friends know how much I hate Walmart. I hate everything about it. Seriously folks, it gives me visible anxiety to be in fact, I didn't enter a Walmart for nearly 5 years until just under a year ago when I broke down and purchased a cooler there. I'll spare you the details here and just tell you that the cooler was twenty bucks cheaper than it was at Target and I just couldn't fight the obvious discount. Since then, I've slowly allowed myself to make a trip here or there but today's site really just affirms my feelings on the place. That's it, Walmart ban is back full force.

Anyway, so here is today's site: People of Walmart. It's brand in it just started yesterday I think so get ready to love it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Here are a few pics from the last week around here
connor has a bowling set that he's obsessed with. he plays hallway bowling daily.

foam puzzles around the neck...sure.

this week he discovered hanging off things...the countertop, the baby gate. super.

showing off his new shirt from papa van hook

Crockpot Tuesday

Here's another yummy chicken recipe we did this week. Super simple and all items we had on hand, which is my favorite part!

Lime & Oregano Chicken

2 huge chicken breasts, quartered
1/4 C melted butter
1 packet of Italian seasonings
2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp lime juice

Place cup up chicken in bottom of crockpot. Mix butter, lime juice, oregano and ------ together and then pour over top of chicken. Cook on Hi for 4 hours. Since this recipe doesn't have a lot of liquid, I would open the crockpot and baste the chicken with the sauce every hour or so. If you won't be home while it's cooking, maybe add a cup of water, or better yet, chicken broth. If you're doing that, add extra lime, butter and oregano so the flavor isn't diluted.

This came out really, really great.. The chicken was tender and the flavor was perfect. I wouldn't change anything. The sauce was so amazing on this, so have some on the side so you can dip!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fridays Dose of Brilliance

Sleeveface - this site isn't really the sort of stuff I typically post on here but something about it draws me in. it's submitted photos of people holding up album sleeves to their own body. you know? there's really no way for me to explain this that does it justice. check it out please :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

The big news of the past few days is that Connor used the potty for the first time on Monday. We've been really whatever about the whole potty training business because we figure he'll let us know when he's into it. Well, I keep hearing from friends who have their kids already potty trained and the pressure got to me. I cracked. I put on back to back Mickey Mouse eps, gave him a crapload of juice and had him sit on his potty...knowing eventually it would just happen. Well, it did! He isn't trained, not by a long, long shot. He probably only went because i'd crammed a liter of juice in his little body and there was no where else to go with it. That's ok, and here are some pics. The video at the end is pure hilarity. I was trying to get him to do the "peepee in the potty dance" we were just doing and he wasn't having it...then he stuck his hand in pee. classic connor.

enjoying his reward after going potty. he loves otter pops...calls them "popsies"

kinda smiling

creepy smiling

and then doing this

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Crockpot Tuesday

We totally blew it with the crockpot this week. we kept forgetting to get meat out to thaw and then when we finally remembered...we left it out all night. i was going to just say screw it for this week but managed to throw together a casserole...not quite a crock pot meal but just about as simple. I did this Tuesday night too...but just never got the pics off the camera so I give to you Crockpot Tuesday, but as a casserole...on a Thursday.

2 large chicken breasts cut in quarters
1-16oz bag of frozen veggies, partially thawed
2 cans cream of whatever soup - i used one brocolli and one chicken
2 cups uncooked pasta
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp melted butter

spray bottom of 9x13 casserole. Cut up chicken in quarters and line bottom of dish with chicken. dump pasta in next, and then the veggies. Mix the rest of the ingredients together separately and then dump that over the top. All done. Cook for an hour at 350 and enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fridays Dose of Brilliance

Sexy People is super similar to Awkward Family Photos one of my favorite Friday's Dose of Brilliance features of all time. Amazing. enjoy it. happy Friday!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

We had Meet the teacher night at connor's school last week...which really meant it was an opportunity for Connor and Aidan to hang out. Or, Nonner and Adie as they call each other. They really crack me up. They've been bffs since they were just a few months old and even when they don't see each other for weeks they get so excited to hang out. Here are a few photos of them in their new classroom. After those are a few random pics from the past week, just hanging out at home.

you can't really see it but on the far left of this pic connor has his arms outstretched. this is when they first saw each other and Aidan is running for him :)

because the shoes make the man-boy


Crockpot Tuesday

Today I decided to assemble all kinds of randomness that was about to expire and make a meal from it. I recommend this. We always buy junk when it's on sale really cheap and then find it in the back of our pantry 8 months after it expired. hate that. So, here's a hodgepodge of a recipe that turned out pretty great.

Chicken/Pasta Goodness
2-3 chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
box of pasta roni and everything it calls for including:
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp butter
s&p to taste

Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Dump Chicken into pot and then pour dry pasta over top. Mix all other ingredients together and pour over chicken and pasta. Heat for 6 hours.

This was good, but there were a couple things I'd change. The pasta got a bit goopy so I think instead of cream of chicken (or cream of whatever) I think I'll do something like chicken broth or even chicken noodle soup next time--keeping the flavor but losing the dumpling-like consistency. It was also a bit bland. I think next time I'll add some additional spices like 1/2 a packet of italian seasonings or onion soup mix. I used fetuccini alfredo pasta roni and really liked it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Chi Omega Alumnae Event to Benefit Gabriel's Angels

My sorority alumnae group is holding our annual charity event this fall and I thought I'd copy Jill and get the word out as much as possible. So here I am...peddling our charity (does it count as peddling when it's for such a great cause?) hoping that my friends and family will check it out, get their tickets and hang out with us for a super fun evening that supports an amazing organization. Although this event is being hosted by Chi Omega, it's open to anyone...well, anyone over the age of 21 that is...because there will be booze, that's why.

Here are the details, so please check it out:

Date: Saturday, October 24, 2009
Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: The Monastery Bar in Mesa, Arizona

BBQ, eat, drink, enter the raffle, bid on silent auction items, and dance at the Monastery with the Phoenix Valley Chi Omega Alumnae and our friends as we raise money for Gabriel's Angels. Gabriel's Angels mission is “To deliver healing pet therapy to abused, neglected and at-risk children, nurturing their ability to love and trust, thereby freeing them from the cycle of violence.” Music performed by Six Foot Six from 8pm until midnight!

Tickets are $30/person and $50/couple before 9/15 and $40/p, $60/c at the door. Please use the Buy Now button below to get your tickets!!

Single or Couple?

There will soon be a facebook group and dedicated site for the event, so as soon as those are both up and running I'll get the details here. For now, please pass along the info and let me know if you have any questions. Thank you!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Friday's Dose of Brilliance

This is photo bomb - warning! this site is not for the modest or those who blush easily. there are a few pics in there that may offend, but i swear it's so funny. The point of the site is to post pics where there are funny things in the background of your pic that you didn't notice until later. Maybe you didn't notice the chick behind you in the shot throwing up mad gang signs...whatever. Really funny. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Last Friday we took Connor to watch his first movie...not in the theatre yet, but at the ballpark. Connor loves baseball - kinda in an obsessed way. He also loves watching movies at home which is good too. Once a year the dbacks open the ballpark to season ticket holders and show a movie on the jumbotron. This year they showed Sandlot so we decided to try it out.

trying to watch the movie but i kept bugging him to take his photo. i am annoying.

hanging out in daddy's office at the ballpark

hugging daddy

playing around at storytime

practicing his back float in the bath - such a wierdo

Monday, August 3, 2009

Crockpot Tuesday

One of Jeff's favorite foods on earth is a pulled pork sandwich. We got a great deal on a pork loin and decided to try it. This recipe is so simple it's crazy!
Simple Pulled Pork Sandwiches

3-4 lb pork loin
18 oz bbq sauce

Put pork loin in crockpot and pour bbq sauce over top and sides. You can never do too much bbq, but you can certainly do too little. Cook on hi for 6 hours or on low for 10. If you do the slower cook, it'll tear apart much easier. Place meat on buns and enjoy.

This was so good, especially for something with only 2 flippin ingredients! You could add spices, seasonings or various bbq sauces to mix it up but it's great just the way it is too. We had it with corn on the cob and some cole slaw and loved it. I think I'll have it for lunch and then again for dinner tomorrow night.