Weekly meal plan

Monday: Chili-lime pork loin, mashed potatoes
Tuesday: Ground beef and macaroni
Wednesday: Beef stew
Thursday: Tacos
Friday: Chicken alfredo pasta
Saturday: Swiss steak, veggies
Sunday: Chicken tortilla soup

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Bachelor episode 4

This episode is aka 'face your fears.' I mean, how more obvious could they be that the procedures asked the girls what they are scared of and then planned their dates around their response.
Chantal had the first 1:1 date. It was actually a little more forced that I anticipated, though I think by the end they were more comfortable. I think Brad likes her no-nonsense, fun personality. I do too. She's scared of the ocean, and their date was to walk on the ocean floor with those scuba helmets.
The large group date consisted of radio time with Dr. Drew's Loveline show. Awkward. Afterwards, they attended the obligatory rooftop pool/hot tub party with lots of booze. Don't they get tired of that? Guess not. It was a last minute decision to give Britt the rose on the group date. He was going to give it to Ashley the dentist, but she had a really poor attitude on the group date. Not sure how much longer she will last. Britt, though, is pretty cute. She seems a little too small-town for this whole Bachelor thing. I just googled it -- she's from Woodinville, WA; pop. 9194.
Michelle had the second 1:1 date. She's scared of heights and they had to rappel down a big building. Here's the thing -- she annoys me personally because she's too aggressive towards the other women, but I could actually see her and Brad together. I think she will be around for a while. Plus she adds drama to the show, which the procedures (and viewers) love.
Linsday was kicked off, but I wish she would have stuck around longer. She's sweet and super cute, but just didn't really get a chance to even try a connection with Brad.
Stacey admitted to cheating while on the group date. Props for honesty, but stupid for a show like this. I don't think her and Brad would have been a good fit anyways...she's a little too wild for him.
Meghan was also kicked off. Next week brings the drama of the Nascar group date (a bit insensitive b/c of Emily's situation). Can't wait!
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Loving this song!

This song is so great! Just what my heart needed today. How wonderful is it that the Creator of all things is FOR ME!

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Easy taco soup

This is a super easy and tasty recipe. It's very budget friendly and keeps well in the fridge.
1 lb ground beef
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
1 16 oz can tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans
1 chopped medium onion
1 diced avocado
1 pkg taco seasoning

  1. Brown beef and onion together in large pot. Drain excess.
2. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans {all undrained}
3. Warm throughout, then add avocado.
4. Stir in taco seasoning.
5. Top with cheese/sour cream/crushed tortilla chips
6. Enjoy!
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Cute Wyatt videos

Here's some random iPhone video of our puppy, Wyatt:
He knew something just seemed out of place. You need audio for this one.

He LOVED the snow!

He gets the random spurts of energy, often just before bed, where he runs around like a puppy on crack.
I took him to the groomers on Friday and against my very verbal wishes and much to my chagrin, they shaved the poor puppy. I was upset, but then tried to remember that he's a dog and it will grow back. He, however, needed some of my vicodin to cope with his loss of identity as the cutest puppy on the block. Don't worry Wyatt, you will be back to your shaggy self in no time.

Yes, he got the vicodin off my nightstand. No, he didn't eat any of it. :)
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Meal plan

Want to know what my meal plan is this week? Just look at last week's menu...it will be the exact same.

We had an impromtu dinner out, followed by my surgery and my dad visited for a couple days. Dad took us out to Hermans, a local steak and rib house. Don't worry that my husband ordered a 42 oz steak. Gross. All of those things combined meant I didn't cook all week, with the exception one night. I'll post that yummy recipe (Taco soup) tomorrow.

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Here's a quick video that shares my LASIK experience with you.
I had my free LASIK eval at McDonald Eye Associates 6 months ago and was deemed a good candidate for the procedure. Once I found a good time, I scheduled the procedure and stayed out of my contacts for a few weeks prior to surgery. I did have a couple of additional visits prior to surgery to make sure my eyes had not changed much since being out of the contacts.

The picture below is of the actual procedure -- Sean, my dad and MIL all watched the procedure. That's my eye on the TV. :) This is one time my huge eyes were beneficial. I was awake and talking during the whole procedure, which only lasted about 20 minutes {the laser is only on each eye for maybe 10 seconds}. They did give me a Valium to chill me out a bit.

Here's some iPhone footage we shot to mark the occasion. They are all sans makeup, so excuse the scary face. :)

For your entertainment...this is what I look like just before bed. I have to wear these protective covers for about 10 days just so I don't accidentally rub my eyes during the night.
Update: I'm now just 5 days out of surgery and am SO happy with my results. My vision is great (was 20/15 the morning after surgery) and my eyes are really comfortable. I am still on an eye drop regimen including antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and normal eye drops frequently throughout the day.

If you have other questions, let me know -- I would be happy to help answer them!

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Bachelor Episodes 2 & 3

Episode 2:
Ashley H. had the first one-on-one date: a carnival {literally} for two. Their date seemed sweet and sincere. She was a bit overdressed for the occasion {they really need to give these girls a dress code for their respective dates} but got a rose.
The group date was like 15 girls and Brad doing PSAs for the Red Cross blood donation. What kind of PSAs were those???!! They were all too racy for TV!

I was surprised when Brad asked Jackie out on the other 1 on 1. I really like her -- she's well put together and very classy...just not sure if meeting someone on this reality show is best for her. She's reserved, rightfully so, but I mean...she did apply to be on this show.
I was encouraged when Brad eliminated a couple crazies: Melissa and Raichel. They had WAY too much drama WAY to early in the season. I wish they would have shown Ali and Roberto giving their feedback! Keltie {one of my initial favs} was also eliminated. She didn't have a great attitude on the group date and her stated reason for being on the show was weird {because my friend told me I should}.
Episode 3: aka "the crying episode"
Ashley S went on the first 1 on 1 -- they went to a recording studio and were then serenaded by Seal. Ashley's dad died a couple years ago and this song was special for them. She is so adorable! She does seem a little young for him, though -- like maybe their life stages will become an obstacle soon.
Many people's favorite, Emily, had the second 1on1 - they FLEW to a winery, ate in a cute little barn and roasted marshmallows. Super cute date...except that her fiance died in a place crash, so she probably didn't want to fly on a little plane. The producers on this show are a little ridiculous. I'm sure that was all part of their plan to get her to share her story with Brad. Emily is my age: 24. I can't imagine dating a 38 year old, but won't say that it can't work.
Michelle {not pictured} is for sure crazy. She keeps interrupting other girls' 1on1 time with Brad and whines all of the time. Funny that she keeps saying that Brad needs a woman, not a girl...yet she is acting so childish!
Viewers saw an interesting side of Madison in this episode. Prior, everyone just thought she was a strange fang wearer, but she ended up leaving the show on the pretense that the other girls wanted and deserved the opportunity more.
I don't really have anything to say about the other two that were eliminated: Kimberly and Sarah P. They didn't really do much or interact with Brad often.
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Meal planning

I've recently started meal planning -- what a difference it has made! I'm not really into couponing {just can't quite find the motivation or time for it right now}, but just planning our meals in advance as dropped our monthly spending on food by 50%. Another advantage is that I'm less stressed out about cooking. Before, I would have a lot of food, none of which I could organize into a complete meal. Now, I know ahead of time what to expect and can plan my day accordingly.

A couple of tips I have found helpful:

1. Discuss your weekly schedule with spouse/family before making the menu. If you know you will be gone to Bible study around dinner time, maybe save the complicated meal for another day.

2. Get new recipes from other sources to keep it interesting. I personally like All You magazine b/c it gives you price/serving and also the All Recipes iPhone app.

3. Use recipes that call for more fresh ingredients towards the beginning of the week and more 'stable' recipes for the end of the week (pastas, etc.).

Spending 30 minutes meal planning on Sunday mornings for me has resulted in saving a significant amount of money, shorter trips to the store, and less stress throughout the week. Each week I'll post my meal plan -- my hope is that eventually it will get more robust with recipes, etc. and that some of you will share your favorite recipes. Don't expect anything super fancy on our menus. My goal is to get somewhat healthy, quick, tasty meals on the table.
Sunday: Ham, mashed potatoes, peas
Monday: Salmon, leftover mashed potatoes, green beans
Tuesday: Chalupas
Wednesday: Ham and beans, cornbread
Thursday: Tomato soup and grilled cheese {having LASIK surgery this day, so Sean will have cooking duty for a couple of days}
Friday: BBQ pulled pork sandwiches {new recipe, I'll let you know how it goes}
Saturday: Taco soup
Sunday: Beef stew w/ lots of veggies

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DIY gifts

Here's a quick catalog of some of the DIY gifts I gave for Christmas. We were/are on a really tight budget this year and having some crafting skills really helped out!
My Brother has a Corgi named Abby. I made used freezer paper stenciling for this corgi outline t-shirt:

Mini corgi on the back of the neck.
I added my sister's monogram to this tote bag.

And matching wristlet.
Stenciled this for my BIL. It's up his alley. Did the letters take forever? Yes.
For my brother's GF, I reused this tote bag by using Wonder Under to add some cute fabric.
We also gave some pictures to family members. I was honestly relieved to have a more modest Christmas this year. So much money is spent on things that the receiver doesn't really want and probably doesn't need. I've really been challenged to find other ways to show how I care for those close to me. When we have our own family, I'm hoping we will follow this rhyme for gifts: "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read"
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What's on my sewing table

Oh, thrift store refashions -- how I have missed thee. Here's what is on my sewing table. Even Wyatt is expressing his concern with crazy eyes.

I'm going to get back into these types of projects, so stay on the lookout for more soon...

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Some Christmas pics

I'm so behind the times. Let's ignore the fact that Christmas was 3 weeks ago. Wonder what my family looks like? Wonder no more...
The nuclear fam.
{don't worry - I've had my roots done since then. That's a whole other blog post}

Sean with his brother, Kyle, and his momma.
Kyle, Jess and Axle.
Beth, my MIL
Not the most flattering picture of my dear husband. He and Kyle are such good buds - I hope our kids are like that!
I'll leave you with Mr. Wyatt.
My dad was taking pics at my side of the family, so I'll post those when I get them from him. {which may or may not be July}
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Cool desktop wallpaper

Graphic designer Kellie Medivitz has these super cool computer wallpapers for free on her website.
Just click here, then click on the link next to the month you need. Right click on the image and 'set as background' on your comp.
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The Bachelor Week 1

I'm sucked in. Already. Each week I'll post my thoughts on the most recent episode. A group of girlfriends here in Fayetteville get together to watch it -- so much for fun to watch with others!
Brad is the bachelor this season. His first time on the show ended w/o picking anyone. He has declared himself as a changed man, though. Good.
Ashley S. won the first impression rose and is one of my favs. Did anyone else notice they aren't showing their ages on the TV show anymore? It's probably b/c most girls are mid-20s and Brad is upper 30s. Ashley is a 26 y/o nanny from NC. She's cute.
24 y/o Emily has a different story -- she was engaged to be married young and her fiance was killed in a plane crash. She found out she was pregnant in that same week and has a little girl. She's an event planner for a hospital -- fun job!
Keltie (cool name, right) is a 28 y/o Rockette. She's got some bangin' legs and a fun, spunky personality.
Some of my least favs --
Raichel is a 29 y/o self-proclaimed 'manscaper' -- really? I would just stick with esthetician myself. I'm sure the always shady producers of this show put her up to that. She's a bit too forward for my liking.
Meghan is 30 and works in fashion. Her shoes were terrible. I can tell she's going to be a difficult one to get along with in the house.
This 25 y/o girl has fangs. No, really...she has fangs and a vampire addiction. Weird. They had to keep her on the show for ratings, I'm sure.
Other notable girls: the girl from Kansas is way cute, Michelle (the hair dresser) is going to be quite the firecracker, and I think the dentist stays on for a while. That's it for this week!
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