Friday, September 30, 2011

So I Met an Astronaut...

Picture from

Earlier this week, my husband emailed me to say that he had been asked to go to a dinner for work involving an astronaut or something....  I didn't really pay attention to the details.  Then he said that I had also been invited to attend.  So I figured:

1.  I got to spend the evening with my husband.
2.  Free dinner (even if it would be bad chicken cordon bleu, a dry twice baked potato, and cold green beans).
3.  Maybe I'd get to say that I shook an astronaut's hand.  You know, for all those times when you get asked the frequently asked, all-important "Have you ever shaken an astronaut's hand?" question.

So, last night we went to the meet & greet/dinner and met Col. Mike Fincke.

First, let me say that he is one of the nicest, most down-to-earth (no bad pun intended) people that I've ever met.  He and my husband bonded over their love of some 80s movie called Space Camp and he autographed a picture for The Padawan with a really nice message.  So I was really happy and impressed with him as a person.

But he was truly inspiring during his speech at the dinner.  Col. Fincke was on the Endeavour for the last space shuttle flight.  He also has spent more time in space than any other American (over 380 days, I think.  Should have read the fact card more carefully before giving it to The Padawan).  But what was more impressive than that was his attitude and passion for his job.

Between the way he spoke about his job and the pictures and video he showed us, you could tell this man really, really loves what he does.  He is passionate about it.  There is no question that, when he goes to work, he is totally sold out for what he is doing.

I also loved the way that he and his colleagues on the Endeavour took such joy from their mission.  Watching video of them "flying" through the International Space Station, having what looked like a race to eat floating M&Ms, and playing with water droplets in the no-gravity environment, it was obvious that they are just fascinated by what they do and truly enjoy it.

Now, don't get me wrong.  These are some brilliant men who did very intricate, highly technical work while they were on their mission.  But in the midst of doing the serious stuff, they could still take immense joy in their work.

How many of us can say that we take such enjoyment in our work?  Maybe most days you find fulfillment, but have you taken the time to kindle the joy and the passion that should infuse our daily lives?  Col. Fincke may get to do his work in space, and we may be in cubicles, or fast food restaurants, or some other seemingly less glorious work environment, but we should be able to find fulfillment and enjoyment just as he has.

It is my prayer that everyone can find the work in life, their purpose, that gives them that joy and inspires such passion, if you have not already found it.  If you have found your purpose, I pray that you continue to experience that passion and that joy that the men on the Endeavour displayed so clearly.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My New Addiction

I got a fever and the only prescription is more Pinterest.

(10 points for anyone who can tell me what that's referencing!)

For anyone not familiar with Pinterest, (in their words):  "Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests."

In my words:  it is ridiculous awesomeness in its purest form.

I don't know about you, but I'm constantly inspired by things I see in blogs or other websites, whether that be recipes or home ideas or books I want to read, even how-to instructions for projects I want to try.  Before Pinterest, I had a mishmash of email folders and documents trying to organize it all.  No more, my friends!  Now I have Pinterest.

I also love it because I can see what others are pinning on their boards.  Sometimes I don't even have to go on outside websites to get inspired because there are such great things getting pinned every minute by other people.

Picture from  But found on Pinterest, of course.

So, yeah, I spend a lot of time on Pinterest.  But I will say that I have done some projects that were inspired by things I saw on Pinterest or with ideas that I pinned myself that were easily organized on Pinterest.

To join, you have to ask to be invited or get an existing member to invite you.  I asked to be invited and it took less than a week to get accepted and up and running.

If you are already a member, you can follow me if you'd like.  I would love to see what all of you are pinning!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu Planning (Try #1)

Okay, so a while back I posted about meal planning - whether I should give it a shot or not.  Consensus being that I should, I promptly started waited a year before giving it a go.

Well, that's not entirely true.  I occasionally menu plan in my head.  Which is sort of the same thing, right?

So, here we go.  My menu plan for the week:

Monday:  Meatloaf muffins, with potatoes, carrots, and green beans (vegetables left over from Sunday dinner...see menu planning working already)

Tuesday: Mr. 31 is on his own.  I'll be out of town for work.

Wednesday: Shrimp sauteed with garlic, Lone Star Rice, and broccoli

Thursday: Penne pasta bake with Italian sausage and Caesar salad

Friday:  Leftovers

Saturday:  Making up a crock pot recipe involving beef and vegetables.  Sort of like a roast, but not.  I'll let  you know how that goes.

I'll be linking up with Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Saga of Dead Power Cords

I have oodles of projects and recipes and an introduction to the newest member of our family coming.  But the power cord on my husband's laptop died - and that's where we keep all of our photos.  Sad face.

I tried to plug the camera in to another computer to pull off my photos, but my husband had decided to be ultra efficient and loving and supportive of my blogging and had already emptied the camera card for me.  Onto his computer.

Since the laptop is still under warranty, the manufacturer promptly sent us a new cord that promptly got lost in transit.  Then they not-so-promptly sent us a second replacement which we just received.

So, posts coming! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Went to the Dark Side

Remember this post?  You know, the one where I espoused my love of books and vowed that I was anti-Kindle/eBooks of any kind.

Yeah, about that.

I got one of these from Mr. 31 for our anniversary:

photo from
And I big-fat-puffy-heart love it.

Here's how the leap to the Dark Side went down:  Mr. 31 is super into electronics and has wanted to get me one for quite some time.  He suggested it at Christmas and, in his words, I "almost murdered him" at the thought of him getting me one of those as a gift.

Then I discovered that I'll be taking a couple of lengthy trips next summer.  And the thought of schlepping a lot of books through airports and hotels made me tired.  And so the evil thoughts began that maybe a Kindle would make that problem go away.

Mr. 31 took that little crack in my armor and ran with it.  So, on our anniversary, my extremely nervous husband handed me a Kindle and then ran for cover waited for my reaction.  At first, I wasn't sure...then I discovered free books.

And look out!  Now my Kindle is ever present by my side.

And my husband rubs it in my face is really glad I like my gift. 

Now, I will say that I still prefer the feel and comfort of holding an actual book!  I also really like when I pay for something to have it in my hand rather than have it just appear as a line on an electronic device (but I know that's just a psychological thing I have to get over - it doesn't bother me with music, but I've yet to make that leap with books).

But I do love my Kindle.

(Disclaimer: I have not been paid or given anything for this post., despite the thousands of dollars I've probably spent on their site, does not know who I am.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Slow Cooker One Dish Chicken

I threw the contents of this recipe in the slow cooker before church on Sunday.  It was ready for us after church; I just whipped up some mashed potatoes (Idaho instant...the football game was coming on!), green beans, and salad to go with it, which took less than 20 minutes.  Not bad for a Sunday dinner!

Now, let me say it was yummy, but decidedly NOT photogenic. Hence no photo.  So you'll have to take my word that it was very good!

Slow Cooker One Dish Chicken
Adapted from Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook: 700 Great Slow Cooker Recipes (Fix-It and Forget-It Series)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
10 3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup milk
1 pkg. Stove Top stuffing
1 2/3 cup water
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 T. butter, cut into small chunks.

1.  Place chicken in slow cooker.

2.  Combine soup and milk.  Pour over chicken.

3.  Combine stuffing mix, seasoning packet (if separate...mine wasn't), raisins/cranberries and water.  Let sit for a minute for stuffing to absorb water.  Spoon over chicken.

4.  Dot butter over the stuffing.

5.  Cover.  Cook on Low 6-8 hours.

I'll be linking up to the following linky parties:
Crock Pot Wednesday at Dining with Debbie
Tempt my Tummy TuesdaysI'm topsy turvy tuesdays

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to The Padawan!

Today is my brother-in-law, The Padawan's, birthday.  He is twelve years old.

In honor of his twelfth birthday, here are twelve reasons why I love The Padawan:

12.  Because he very patiently explains things like Ninjago and the Marvel Universe to his clueless sister-in-law (that would be me).

11.  Because he loves sports and is fun to watch football games with because he knows all the players and their stats.

10.  Because he can take a foul during a basketball game like no other.  Then he gets up with a big smile on his face and helps up the guy who just creamed him.

9.  Because he adds "Cha Cha Cha - Charmin ULTRA!" after every time he sings Happy Birthday to someone.  I have no idea where it came from, but you have to respect his dedication.

8.   Because he is kind to our puppy, Bailey, who weighs more than him and plays with him tirelessly.  The Padawan even watched over the dog the day Bailey was sick and Mr. 31 and I had to go to work.

7.  Because he really gets into singing along with the radio.

6.  Because he is respectful and well behaved.

5.  Because, even at 12, he's not embarrassed to give us big hugs and tell us when he misses us.

4.  Because he has the ability to make a friend out of anyone.  It has happened more than once that he is talking and laughing and playing with another child at a store or the park and later, when we ask him where he knew the kid from, he says, "I didn't know them."

3.  Because he is compassionate and caring to humans and animals alike.

2.  Because he is sweet and kind to the point that he doesn't even want to beat anyone at a board game.

1.  Because he loves the Lord and desires to walk in His ways.  And he does a SUPER job at it!

HAPPY 12TH BIRTHDAY!!!  Cha Cha Cha - Charmin ULTRA!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Know What Room I'm In

...which means I don't need my wallpaper border to remind me.

...which leads to my current project: redecorating our full bath.

As I've mentioned before, we rent our home and weren't planning on living here for very long, so I was willing to live with certain things.  Like bathtub wallpaper border.  And purple walls.

And purple rose wallpaper.

And generic gold light fixture.

And sharing it with my cats.

But I've hit my limits.  This was brought on by a couple of things.  The first was that our ceiling began to peel.

This has happened with a number of our ceilings.  I'm not sure what the previous owners used, but it sure doesn't like to stick.

The other was that our toilet began to leak from the tank.  And then the cat toilet decided to not work anymore. (Yes, our cats had a toilet.  I just had to hit a button for deodorized water to clean everything out and then flush it all down my toilet.  It made our lives much easier, except for the fact that it broke every few months.  But I digress.) 

So, I decided in for a penny, in for a pound.  I'm kicking the cats out (of the bathroom anyways), tearing the place apart, and rebuilding it into a better version of itself.  Certain things, like the tile, bathtub, tub surround, vanity, and mirror have to stay, so no major changes will go down.  But I can certainly paint and decorate it up a little bit.

I'll be updating as I go.  I'm hoping to have the entire project done by the end of September.    And I've already got a jump on it - the purple rose wallpaper is gone!  Woohoo!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I'm baaaaack!

In case anyone noticed I've been MIA on my own blog for almost a year - I'm back!

I was going to write a post about all the reasons why I haven't posted, but I decided I wasn't going to do that.

1.  It would be a really long, uninteresting post.

2.  It would just be a long list of excuses and would sound suspiciously like whining, neither of which I tolerate very well from other people, so I won't subject you to mine.

So I'll just say I'm back.  I have some projects in the hopper and some new obsessions (can anyone say Pinterest???), so I'll see you here real soon!