Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Cross stitching, to be specific. I have an unhealthy obsession with it. It's one of those things I was taught as a young girl as a way to get me to stfu for more than 5 minutes and give my mom a much needed break.

I've always been the artsy-crafty type, so once I realized that the cross stitch patterns you get a the store are super lame, I moved on to other artistic mediums. I've always seemed to enjoy small, detailed, things. For example: my favorite part of my Barbie mansion was arranging the teeny tiny food in the little fridge. In art classes I was always using the tiniest brushes possible, even if the canvas was huge. I have issues. I know this.

I also went through a period where I was obsessed with pixel graphics. I would create little images pixel by pixel. This would probably drive most people mad, but I loved it. And now, that insanity has provided me with the ability to whip up a cross stitch pattern in no time at all. Thus solving the issue of lame pre-made patterns.

I'm not entirely sure what made me start stitching again. It was right after our move to Texas, so maybe I just had more time for such things. I remember stumbling upon a picture of a cross stitch that said simply, "Fuck you." And I thought, "Oh, this is right up my alley..." Now here I am.

I've completed a bunch my own designs, but realized that I never really did anything with them. A few are framed, some really vulgar ones were gifted to some dear friends last Christmas, and the rest just sit in a pile. I figure odd crafts tend to interest people, so I'll try to update about my stitching more frequently. This weekend I'll be writing a post that will include most of my finished works.

This is what I'm working on right now:

It's a zombie sugar skull. I'm thinking of doing a series of sugar skulls, but I had to start with just one first, right?

So that's some insight about why I enjoy a grandma-hobby. And yes, when I am a grandma I'll still be stitching things with zombies and bad words. That's just how I roll.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halloween Decor

It's an awkward time to give a blog a "rebirth." I openly admit that. Most people would make a resolution in January about blogging more, or something like that. I'm just sick of being ADD with my blog, so here I am. I'm laying it out there. This blog may be disorganized, but that's how I roll with my life. I've learned that I need an outlet, so here I am... starting fresh:

Christmas has always been the big holiday where I got the house all gussied up. Tree, lights, garland, the works. However, since we moved to Texas and found our real home, as opposed to just a house, I've developed a love for decorating for all holidays and seasons.

With Halloween decor being so close to generic autumn decor, I tried to find at least a few pieces that I can keep up throughout Thanksgiving. And by a few pieces, I really do mean a few. Somehow I don't think the skulls, spiders, and skeleton hands are really Turkey Day appropriate.

Halloween Decor 2012 Halloween Decor 2012

Halloween Decor 2012

Halloween Decor 2012

Halloween Decor 2012

Halloween Decor 2012

Halloween Decor 2012

Halloween Decor 2012

Halloween Decor 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Baked Oatmeal To-Go

I try to cook healthy things, I rarely use salt, I've fried things only a handful of times since moving to the land of fried foods the South... But I'm really good at sitting on the couch and assuming that the calories I do eat will just melt away like when I was younger. Reality check: Welcome to my 30's. And thus, we diet.

I will be removing my ass from the couch as well, but I know I can eat healthier. Since J will obviously be forced down this road with me, I have the challenge of finding healthy alternatives that don't include vegetables or things other than meat he will actually eat. Meals aren't really the difficult part of that challenge, it's the snacks and easy foods that we can take to work.

Breakfast during the week usually consists of a granola bar, which of course is loaded with sugar. That's why they're tasty. Mmmmmm sugar. While searching for alternatives I stumbled upon baked oatmeal. As a cupcake enthusiast, this was the perfect thing to cram into my muffin tins. It can be made with any topping you desire, and they're perfect for healthy-ish eating on the go. If you're not dieting, don't worry, I'll include suggestions on ways to load these up with sugar...

Baked Oatmeal To-Go


  • 2 eggs

  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 banana, mashed

  • 2 2/3 cups milk (or 2 cups milk, 2/3 cup cream)

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • + 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (optional)

  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

  • 3 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 5 cups rolled oats

  • Toppings (chocolate chips, cranberries, nuts, maple syrup, etc)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Grease 2 muffin pans, or use cupcake liners.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients: eggs, applesauce, vanilla, banana, milk, and honey (and optional brown sugar). Thoroughly whisk in cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and flour. Stir in rolled oats until well-combined.
    Your batter will seem both watery and lumpy, this is okay.

  • Scoop batter into muffin pans, about 1/4 cup per well.
    Tip: Stir your bowl of batter after every few scoops. If you don't stir, the batter tends to separate and you risk having very watery batter left at the end.

  • Add your desired toppings.
    I used dried cranberries, pecans, and chocolate chips. I even made a few maple and brown sugar ones by covering the top of the oatmeal with maple syrup, then sprinkling with brown sugar. These are a little sticky, but taste awesome! Get creative. Fresh blueberries, walnuts, heck even M & M's, would be awesome.

  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

This recipe made 2 dozen little oatmeals. Store them in an airtight container or ziplock bag. If you don't live with a ravenous man in your home, you can store them in the fridge so that they will keep longer. I'm sure they could be frozen too, but I will never find out because like I said... ravenous man at home.

Monday, August 6, 2012

2012 Week 31/52

I'm proud of myself for blogging 3-4 times each month. However, I'm noticing a pattern... I enjoy posting fun little recipes, or other things that involve the use of photos. And generally, those things do not to reflect on my day-to-day life. If anyone popped onto my blog they would think that I bake a lot and am obsessed with my husband. Which are both totally true, but I swear my life involves more than that.

I briefly mentioned starting to do weekly updates in an effort to stick to a blogging schedule. We see how that turned out. I never even did one. However, now that after 11 months we're starting to settle into a routine down here, it is something that I feel I have time for and want to do. So, let's get on with it...

Monday July 30 - Sunday August 5

Our week started off just how anyone would want their own week to start: With someone jacking our debit card info and racking up charges at Babies R Us and the Lego Store. And in case you don't know, it freaking sucks. We are both very careful with our cards, especially J. Ironically, his was the info that was stolen. We're thinking a waitress swiped it a couple of weeks prior since that's the only time the card was out of his sight.

After far too many phone calls with the bank than what should be necessary, our account got credited for the false charges. I won't go into details about all of the BS, mainly because it still aggravates me, but I hope the thief enjoys watching their kid play with all of the crap they bought with our money because once they're in jail I'm pretty sure there won't be much time for family bonding.

Stealing is one of those things that I have a mental zero tolerance policy in place. There aren't many things I can say that about, but stealing is one of them. J and I work hard for our money and like to spend it on ourselves because, you know, we earned it. I'm sure if the thief put in half of the effort into a real job that they put into fraud, they could probably be quite successful. Under any circumstance, there is no reason to steal from people. Ever. I refuse to even argue the point because in no scenario will I say, "Okay, in that situation its okay to steal." In all the times I have needed money, never once did it cross my mind to steal it from someone. It's just not okay.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the thief had to pick the week that we started dieting and going to the gym. So my rage was fueled even more by hunger and muscle fatigue. Okay, perhaps that's an exaggeration... we all know I'm good at getting pissed off without any extra outside factors... but we did start trying to live healthier.

Aside from my baking, I'm a fairly healthy cook. I rarely use salt, I've fried things all of 5 times in my entire life, and I try to keep fatty foods to a minimum. Regardless, J and I both need to lose some weight. Not only that, and probably more importantly, we need to get in shape. I can't even remember the last time I exercised, so I've been taking that as a good indication of needing to hit the gym.

We survived a whole week of healthier dinners and lunches, and it turned out to even be cost-effective. We're not frequent fast food eaters, and our house isn't stocked with junk food, so it has been a little difficult to find places to cut calories. Lunch has always been a big obstacle and an open temptation to grab something quick. So I've been packing healthy lunches for both of us and I've actually been enjoying it.

I baked a large batch of individual-sized baked oatmeal for us to take to work, and stocked up on plenty of fruits and healthy snacks to get us through the day. While I am always looking for ideas for quick and healthy dinner recipes, I think our biggest challenge with that meal is portion control. At lunch its easy because you can only eat as much as what's in your bag. Dinner, however, can be a whole different animal. And that is where we're going to struggle for a while.

Coupled with the food changes, is adding exercise into our schedules. On J's late days I have time to get home from work, go to the gym, and have dinner ready around the time he walks in the door. Unfortunately, those days don't leave him any gym time. Our solution seems to be going to the gym together on his earlier days, and supplementing the other days with some other sort of activity. I can go to the gym alone and use the elliptical machine, or we can go for walks or bike rides in the evenings after dinner. I have a feeling that our home will eventually have its own elliptical, simply to provide a more convenient option than going to the gym just for that machine, but that's a down-the-road purchase. Our health-related purchase this time was this sweet bike for me:

J spotted it, then made fun of me for wanting it, then admitted that it really was the perfect bike for me: Matte black frame, pink wheels, zebra accents, and its one of those cute, retroish style bikes.

We went for our first bike ride together on Saturday evening and it was great. The park near our house has a bike path, plus the neighborhood we live in is fairly low-traffic. We're not doing the Tour De France or anything, but it was really nice to be out on our bikes. If Ranger was calm enough to come along it would be perfect, but I see that happening sometime between never and hell no.

Speaking of healthy cooking baking it was Jenn's 13th birthday on Thursday, so of course I was more than happy to bake something fun:

On Sunday we took our outdoor activities down to Galveston Island, for some beach time with our friends.

Side note: calling them "our friends" kind of doesn't do the whole relationship justice. They're like awesome family that isn't actually related to us. So I guess they're "framily?" Yeah, something like that. Regardless, they're Swiss, and they're awesome, and that's all I really need to say about that.

J and I love the beaches down here, and luckily our framily doesn't mind going with us. It's just such a different beach experience than the Jersey shore. In NJ going to the beach is like swimming in a cold, overcrowded pool full of douchebags. Plus, you have to pay for the whole lovely experience after sitting in traffic that is so bad that I'm pretty sure it is one of the levels of hell. Here in TX you just hop on the freeway, drive right up to the surf (for free), and set up your little beach camp for the day. You can even ride the waves without crashing into drunken teenagers having sex in the ocean. And yes, I have actually crashed into drunken teenagers having sex in the ocean. Stay classy, NJ.

Now I'm sure people will argue that NJ has a boardwalk with food, rides, and Snooki, but did y'all know that Galveston has a boardwalk too? It actually has a whole bunch of fun things to do that don't involve picking used condoms off of yourself after emerging from the water ...Seriously people, I can't make up these Jersey shore experiences. They happen. Frequently.

J and I find it so strange that people ask us, "So how did you like Galveston and our brown water?" Really? Who cares that the water is cloudy? Its warm and only possibly contaminated by an occassional oil spill clean! I've come to learn that people down here think that the Atlantic coast is full of sandy beaches and clear blue oceans. FYI: not so much. So if any Texans are reading this: Stop selling your beaches short! They are awesome and you should count yourselves as lucky for having such easy access to them all year long. Better yet, take a trip to Seaside Heights, NJ in July and let me know how you make out.

Anyway, we left the house under blue skies, then wound up driving through storms and this:

We even saw a waterspout off in the distance during our drive. J spotted it and I of course didn't believe him when he said there was a "tornado" until I saw it too. And technically, a waterspout isn't a tornado, but it was still pretty cool. The skies cleared along the coastline shortly after we arrived, and it turned out to be a beautiful day:

We relaxed, we swam, we stole the kids boogie boards when they weren't using them... it was a good time. Even Roxy enjoyed herself:

And of course Jenn and Hanna were more than happy to pose for photos, since I brought my DLSR along for the trip.

It was a really fun day, and now J and I totally need to buy boogie boards because we're big kids. We came home thoroughly exhausted, so we apparently got a good work out while we were there as well. So that's a bonus. And now its Monday, and the start of a new week. My hair is still a little salty, my face is sun-kissed, and I feel like we're really taking the right steps to get healthy. So one week down, and hopefully our changes will allow for many, many more of the same.

Friday, July 27, 2012

So I married the parts manager

Okay, so technically he wasn't the MINI parts manager anymore when we started dating, but still... The only reason we met is because that was his job and I was just another crazy MINI customer. Seriously, I eventually found out that I was referred to as "that crazy MINI chick." ...and I am, but I digress...

I first set foot in Prestige MINI back in the spring of 2007. I went on a test drive, designed the exact car that I wanted, and tracked it from its "birth" over in England until it arrived in NJ. I named her Moxie and she was what launched my obsession with everything MINI.

Here is my much thinner younger self, clearly elated with the new baby she just brought home.

I was 25 and psyched that I had this awesome car. Perhaps I should've taken it as a sign of things to come when her windshield got smashed just a couple of months after bringing her home. If you've never had a brick come flying off of a truck and smash into your windshield directly in front of your face while driving, I'll give you this little bit of insight: It is really effing scary. Luckily the windshield held, and only shards of glass and a tiny piece of brick came into the car. Saving my face from undoubtedly, painful destruction. In the end, Prestige rushed to get her fixed, I was ecstatic, and shortly after that, a new parts manager was hired...

I was always in and out of Prestige for various reasons that first year that I had Moxie. I needed some touch up paint for spot on her door, she was due for an oil change, or I just wanted a car wash. Then things started to get real: timing chains, fuel pumps, oil leaks, engine rebuild. I was there constantly, and I was pissed off a lot. It became almost a joke with how frequently something would go wrong with Moxie... like I was making up issues just to come in. I wasn't, but it still earned me the title of the crazy MINI chick.

I eventually got to know pretty much every person that worked there. My car would show up and I could practically hear everyone groan before I even walked into the building. "Oh God, what's wrong now?" The only person I never spoke to was the parts manager. My car was under warranty, so there was really no need, but he couldn't even be bothered to so much as say 'hey' to me?! He knew who I was. For God's sake, everyone knew who I was. I basically lived there. So I wound up writing him off as kind of a jerk. [He tells me now that I "ignored him for two years" and that it's my own fault.]

Time passes, Moxie gets custom pink stripes, I get a custom MINI tattoo, and my reputation as being an insane MINI chick is further solidified. I'm always there with more car troubles, but this guy still can't be bothered to say hi, even when I'm sitting there right in front of the parts counter in the damn waiting room. Fine, be a jerk. Granted, a good-looking jerk, but still a jerk.

Eventually we spoke once. I was there for yet another service appointment, and he came over to make fun of my service advisor. For the life of me I can't remember what joke he made, but it was funny. He seemed surprised that I laughed, but I can't say that I blame him. I was really good at getting really bitchy about Moxie's issues. And then, he was gone. He went over to Prestige's BMW store, and I kept going to MINI.

More time passes and I became friends with some people from MINI. Suddenly I am actually able to go to the dealership on good terms instead of only being there for car issues. One of those "good" times, I'm there with cupcakes... and who do I bump into while walking with my friend? It's the parts manager! We get scolded for not having any cupcakes left for him. I later come to find out that he is friends with my friend on Facebook. Comments pass between us here and there, and I realize that he's actually kind of a cool dude. So now we're Facebook friends... and you know nothing is real until it's on Facebook.

A few weeks go by, I'm still doing MINI stuff, we converse via Facebook more, and eventually we decide to hang out. We tell no one. Technically, I'm a customer and he's an employee. This goes on for weeks. Is this seriously the guy that I wrote off as being an uptight jerk?! He's so much fun! It gets to the point where we're together everyday as soon as we're done with work... eventually we decide that we're actually dating, and change our relationship status go public. And guess what? Nothing bad happens. He still has his job, I still handle my own Moxie-issues, and all is right with the world. He even started to go to Prestige's MINI rallies with me, which was awesome because everyone loves him, so his old customers were happily surprised to see him there.

Life goes on. We move in together, Moxie loses her engine for a second time, and we retire her for Minja in January 2011. From that point, life kind of got a little crazy... not MINI chick crazy, just general crazy. We left our jobs, families, friends, and most of our furniture behind, and moved to Texas. We bought a house, another dog, a pickup truck, and firearms. Life is good.

We even bought a new MINI. This is Etzio...

The best part? I took delivery of him exactly 5 years to the day that I took delivery of Moxie. Nothing else could better illustrate how my life has come around full-circle in that time. I've had crazy highs and wicked lows, but there I was exactly 5 years later picking up a MINI again right at the start of a new cycle in my life.

The parts manager and I got married a couple of weeks later, on July 15, 2012. It was the 2-year anniversary of when we started dating, and another one of those things that we told no one. Apparently, that's just how we roll. If nothing else, our life together is never boring.

In a matter of years we went from strangers in a MINI dealership, to husband and wife. And in even less time, we went from New Jersey natives to Texans. It seems like our relationship revolves around change, and while that may be true in some aspects, the best part about us is our stability... kind of like a MINI: Our wheels are moving us forward, sometimes at very high speeds, but we're stuck to the road through any twists and turns that are ahead. And we're gonna have a damn good time enjoying the ride. Motor on, y'all.

Wedding photos by Gigi Arendt

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Nutella Breakfast Pockets

This is yet another Pinterest find from my Sweets & Treats board. J loves freshly baked cinnamon rolls on mornings when he's not working, but (in my opinion) that gets pretty boring after a few weeks. I was looking for something simple to alternate with the cinnamon rolls. It had to be easy, fairly quick, and something that was baked. Here is what I found:

Nutella Breakfast Pockets:


  • 1 tube of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

  • Nutella

  • Cinnamon-sugar mixture


  • Preheat oven according to directions on crescent roll tube.

  • Unroll crescent roll dough and place on sheet of parchment. Press dough together at the perforations to make a solid square of dough. You could use a rolling pin for this if desired, but the dough is sticky and I don't feel like dealing with extra items to wash first thing in the morning.

  • Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 12 evenly sized squares.

  • Place a dollop of Nutella onto every other square. I've found the easiest way to do this is by using 2 teaspoons. One to scoop out the Nutella, and one to scrape the Nutella off of the spoon and onto the squares.

  • Take the empty squares and place them on top of the Nutella squares, like if you were making ravioli. Press down along all four sides of the squares, and make sure the edges are securely closed. I then went around the edges with a fork, but it isn't necessary since the dough is sticky and the edges close quite easily.

  • Gently dip the squares (both sides) into the cinnamon-sugar and place onto a cookie sheet.

  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly on cookie sheet. Transfer pockets to plates and serve immediately.

This recipe is extremely versatile and could be made with a number of different fillings, such as peanut butter, chocolate, or even bacon (served with maple syrup dipping sauce). Use your creativity, and enjoy!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Saving Thor (Updated: 07/01/12)

****Thor has been saved!!****

First, thank you all for the donations, Facebook shares, and efforts to find Thor's owners. No one ever claimed our sweet boy, but we think he was most likely stray for a while and his family gave up their search. Also, if he was taken and used for fighting, he could have come from anywhere. We all tried our best for a reunion, but it didn't happen.

With that being said, we are thrilled to announce that Thor has a new forever home. And the best part? We get to visit him! He is now in a warm, loving home with friends. He has two boys to play with, pet-parents to jog with, and fluffy beds to sleep in. He has been neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped, and hugged... I'm sure he's been hugged a lot.

We visited him today and he looked like a new dog. He knows he's safe, and you can see the gratitude in his eyes. Some people say that dogs don't have emotions, but I don't believe that. Looking into Thor's eyes, it's like he is saying thank you. We can only guess at what he has been through in his short life, but we know what his life is like now... as does he. And he thanks everyone, from the bottom of his doggie heart, for helping him find his save haven, and new life.

Original Post Below:

Who let the dogs out? No, really... Who? Because we keep finding them, and it's becoming a problem.

One of the big differences between TX and NJ, is the amount of loose and stray dogs. We see them everywhere. Some are pets with collars and tags, and others have no visible identification whatsoever. We always see Lost/Found dog signs, and the shelters are overflowing. It makes me angry and breaks my heart at the same time.

As sick as I am of our neighbor's chihuahua crapping on our lawn everyday, I want to cry for every pup I see walking around looking lost. Did the dog get loose accidentally? Does the person just not care that their dog roams... like our neighbor with the chihuahua? Did someone dump the dog because they can't care for it anymore? Or is it something more sinister?

I have returned dogs home if they had tags. I have kept my distance from those who seemed vicious. I have caught dogs that ran away from their people because they thought it was a super-fun game. I have simply let a dog keep trotting in the direction it's going, for lack of any better solution.

This time though, we didn't find a stray... He found us.

Every weekend we have "Mutual Home Improvement Sunday" with our only friends. Although, to say friends isn't right... we've become family. For the past couple of months we've been working at their house on their yard and pool. Edit: J will get mad at me for saying we have been working... the men work, Tammy and I supervise. From the jacuzzi. With drinks. It's a good time.

Anyway, this past Sunday J went over early, while I stayed home to put together a big dish of baked ziti for everyone. Halfway through the ziti, I get a text from J. He said that they found a stray dog that was friendly, but injured from a fight. They didn't know what to do with him, so J asked if I'd run over to Petco and ask the people who run the adoptions there if they could let me know who to call. I washed the mozzarella off of my hands and headed over.

I was told at Petco that the Houston SPCA has a 24-hour ambulance service for injured strays. If you've ever seen the show Animal Cops, that's the Houston SPCA. They are amazing people. So is the woman who runs the adoptions at our local Petco. She cares for dozens of dogs on her own, and she is there every weekend helping the pups find homes. Good people do still exist.

I thanked her profusely for her help, went home and finished the ziti, and headed over to our friend's house to call the SPCA for a pick up. I got out of the car and asked J to show me the dog. He said the pup was in the garage sleeping, like he hadn't slept in weeks. Then I saw him...

This is Thor. As soon as I found out that he had been given a name, I knew I wouldn't be calling the SPCA. As I walked over to him in the garage, he got up, gave his tail a few wags, and came over for a pat on the head. He was clearly exhausted and injured, but he still just wanted some lovin'

He had a very large bite wound on his tummy from being in the losing end of a fight. Upon closer inspection, we found cuts all over him in various stages of healing. We could see his ribs, but he wasn't emaciated. He looked well-developed, and had a gorgeous set of teeth. We guessed he was somewhere around 1-3 years old, and that he was a pit bull lab mix. We thoroughly analyzed everything about him... but still didn't know what to do with him.

We couldn't bear the thought of sending him to a shelter and risk eventual euthanization. Being part pit bull doesn't put him ahead of the game in terms of adoptability, regardless of his demeanor. So there he stayed. In the garage, with a fan, a bed, food, water, and me. I just sat watching him sleep for a good hour or so. He would twitch his little toes and wag his tail when he was dreaming. At least the poor dog had happiness at some point in his life, even if it was just when he was asleep.

After a while, I brought him a treat. To my surprise, he sat on command. I thought it was a fluke, but he did it a second time. Later, we learned that he was trained. A bowl of food was given to him and he was told to sit and wait. As hungry as he was, he sat still until he was given the "okay." He was extremely non-food aggressive, and let the bowl be taken away and a hand put into his food while he was eating. Not even so much as a growl came from him. He would probably let you take food from him mouth, but we weren't going to tease the poor boy.

We eventually brought him into the backyard and he laid in the grass and played fetch like it was the happiest day of his life. He took lots of breaks to nap in the garage, but like I said, he was exhausted. He was more calm, and better behaved than our 2 dogs and our friend's 3 dogs combined. It was fitting that he was all white because he was like an angel. A lost soul, just looking for love. He stayed in our friend's garage that night, while we all tried to come up with a plan.

Unfortunately, it is now 4 days later and Thor's fate is still unknown. On Monday we brought him to our vet's office for a microchip scan. I figured there was only a slim chance that he'd be chipped, and unfortunately my hunch was correct. No chip. While there, the doctor gave him a quick checkup and prescribed some antibiotics for the wound on his tummy.

The saddest part about our visit was what we learned about his (most likely) past experiences. He is trained, so we believe that he was someone's pet. We were told that he probably got lost, and was then picked up by someone else because they thought he was a pit bull. We discovered that the sound of a chain terrifies him, so he was probably used as a bait dog for fights. I won't go into detail about the relation between chains and dog fighting, because no one needs to hear about that atrocity here. When he wouldn't fight back, he was dumped and left to either fend for himself or die.

Our vet guessed that Thor was, at the very most, 3 years old. Surprisingly, he is only about 10 pounds underweight. He agreed with our thoughts on his breed, and said that he is more lab than pit bull... he just has a pit bull shaped head. We didn't have any blood work done, and he is very obviously un-neutered, but the doctor said that it would be okay to let Thor interact with our own [vaccinated] dogs.

So, on Tuesday evening, we tried to do just that. It's been well into the 100's here in Houston, and our friends haven't been able to keep Thor outside. Their own pit bull isn't very dog-friendly, so its been a lot of work to keep all of the dogs separated and cool. We decided to see how Thor and Ranger would get along over at our house. We knew Scout wouldn't be an issue because... well... he's an old corgi that just wants to spend his days sleeping. But Ranger, now he posed a problem.

Ranger is our 1-year old German Shepherd. He isn't neutered yet, but that's getting taken care of next week. He is very much a puppy, but has been acting rather "manly" lately. We had no idea how he would handle another dog, but we quickly found out that the answer to that was, "Not well. Not well at all."

After lots of barking, and knocking each other around, we decided that we couldn't keep Thor at our house. Two un-neutered males, regardless if one was dominant and one submissive, were not going to get along. Perhaps we went about introducing them the wrong way. Maybe they should've met on neutral ground instead of in our backyard. Maybe Ranger is just a jerk. Who knows, but either way, they weren't going to be BFF's.

So off Thor went, back to our friend's house. On their way home they did stop at friend's house who is involved with rescues and has a few pit bulls of her own. They introduced Thor to one of her pups, and even to a kitten... no problem at all! Clearly, the issue at our house was from our own dog, and not Thor. Which is great news in terms of finding him a home.

Now that brings us to our current situation. Thor needs a home, and he needs one ASAP. However, he also needs a thorough vet checkup, heartworm test, vaccinations, and neutering. We have 2 dogs, our friends have 3, and now we all have Thor. If we had the funds, we would gladly get all of Thor's issues taken care of right now and put him right up for adoption. The problem is, we can't afford his care.

Asking someone to take on Thor as their pet, or even a foster, is a large financial responsibility considering that he is ultimately a stray. None of us are the type of people who go begging for handouts, but we openly admit that we need help to keep Thor safe, healthy, and out of a shelter.

Our main problem right now is finding him a place to stay. So first and foremost we absolutely need a foster home for this sweet baby. He is trained, housebroken, calm, gentle, and gets along with adults, kids, dogs, and cats. He is an angel with some broken wings, and just needs a place to lay his head. If you, or someone you know can foster him, please email me right away.

In terms of his care, we can't in good conscience leave him with a foster family knowing the kinds of vet bills that his care will incur. If you have anything to spare to help us properly care for this boy, you can donate through the link at the bottom of this post.

None of this money will be used for any of ours other dogs, or for anything other than Thor's care: vet bills, food, and meds. If he gets fostered, we will continue to use these funds for Thor so as not to burden his foster family. If you are local and have doggy items that you can donate in lieu of money, please email me and let me know.

We want nothing but the best for Thor. He is a sweet dog, who was dealt a bad hand in life. Under no circumstances will we let this dog be euthanized, but we need help. A foster home and funding are needed to save our boy. He will gladly repay with as much love as he can give, and we will all be forever grateful.

We are not expecting much from anyone, we know that money is tight. However, if through some miracle we receive more funding than needed for Thor, all extra will be given to the Houston SPCA to help care for their sheltered animals. We are true animal lovers, and no penny will be wasted.

Donations are closed: Thank you all so much for your generosity!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Coconut Rice Pudding Cups

I'm a Pinterest addict. I pin hundreds of things that I love, but that's as far as it gets. If you don't believe me, check out my boards. Sure, I've made a few things here and there, but most stuff just sits in the vastness of cyberspace. I'll occasionally look through it and think, "Why the heck haven't I tried this yet?" Well, I'm trying to turn over a new leaf... in terms of Pinterest and life in general... but that's a whole other post.

Anyway, I found recipes for Coconut Rice Pudding and Simple Nutella Cookies. I tweaked each of them a bit as I went along, and they came out quite good! The cookie edges got a little over-baked, but it was my first time making cookie bowls so I'll let that slide. The rice pudding is heavenly, and the perfect blend of coconut and sweetness. It's definitely not overbearing at all. Feel free to try, share, pin, and enjoy!

Here is a quick preview of everything that you'll need:

Coconut Rice Pudding


    1 cup uncooked rice (do not use Minute Rice)
    1 1/2 cups coconut milk
    2 cups whole or 2% milk
    1/3 cup white sugar
    1 tbsp vanilla extract
    pinch of salt


    Prepare rice according to package directions.
    Combine cooked rice and all other ingredients in a medium saucepan.
    Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 40 minutes
    Place in bowl, cover, and chill.

Simple Nutella Cookie Bowls


    1 cup Nutella
    1/3 cup white sugar
    1 cup flour
    1 egg
    pinch of salt


    Preheat oven to 350
    In large bowl, knead all ingredients together thoroughly
    Turn cupcake pan upside down
    Cover each cupcake-well with layer of cookie dough
    Bake 8-10 minutes
    Cool on pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack

Once pudding and cookie bowls are cooled, place a scoop of pudding into each bowl. Top with cinnamon if desired.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies

It was a chilly weekend here in Texas, and probably the first time I've ever seen J curl up on the couch with a blanket. He's usually too busy doing something to just sit around and watch movies... but that aside, he's never cold, so I'm always free to be the blanket hog in our house. This wasn't the case on Sunday afternoon.

After a movie or two, J announced that he wanted cookies. We're fully stocked with Girl Scout cookies right now, but I'm not one to turn down an opportunity to bake... So I offered to make him some. However, it was at that moment that I remembered we were out of eggs.

"Well crap," I thought to myself. I've perfected my cookie recipe and I don't like to use substitutions and mess with a good thing. The only other option was to come up with a new cookie based on what I had in our pantry. I grabbed the basics, then picked up some applesauce, and a bag of Hershey's cinnamon chips that I've been dying to experiment with.

I think J and I were both skeptical, but as soon as I pulled the first tray out of the oven I knew my cobbled together recipe was a winner. The smell was heavenly... apples, cinnamon, chocolate chip cookies... Amazing. The cookies barely cooled before J tried one and declared them a success.

These cookies would be perfect in the autumn with a mug of hot cider, but they're a cinch to make so why not bake some now? Enjoy!


  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 box dry, instant vanilla pudding mix
  • *1-1.5 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • *1-1.5 cups Hershey's cinnamon chips
    *I use a total of 3 cups of chips when making cookies, but some people prefer less.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

In mixer, cream together butter, sugars, and vanilla until creamy. Add applesauce and mix thoroughly. Slowly add flour mixture, mixing well after each addition. Add in vanilla pudding and mix until just combined. Stir in chips.

Chill dough for at least 1 hour, or until a firmer, less-sticky consistency is reached.

Preheat oven to 375.

On parchment lined cookie sheets, place rounded tablespoons of chilled dough. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown on edges. Allow to initially cool on cookie sheets before transferring to racks. Store in sealed container after fully cooled.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Christmas Crafts and Decor

Well our first Texas Christmas has come and gone. The gifts are unwrapped, family has gone home, and the decorations are taken down scattered around the house. This post is painfully overdue, but I was busy and that's just how it's going to be.

Let's take a quick tour of all the decorations and craftiness that kept me so busy this holiday season...

We'll start outside with our Christmas lights.

This was the first year that either Jeremy or myself had ever decorated a house ourselves. Let me tell you, its a lot easier when you're little and your parents do the manual labor. That aside, it was pretty nice to be able to put the decorations up and not have it be 300 degrees below zero outside.

However, I totally could've lived without having to redo the lights twice a few times. Since someone thought my first layout looked "hokey," a quick trip to Lowe's (and a second afternoon outside) solved the problem. I'll be fair, I really did like the way our lights turned out in the end... but I'll be happier next year when I already know where everything is going to go before I start.

Anyway, lets stop at our front door on our way inside.

This is a tulle wreath that I made thanks to some inspiration I gained from Pinterest. It looks complicated, but if you can tie a knot you can make this wreath. I'm thrilled with how it turned out, and I plan on posting step-by-step instructions for the wreath I'll be making for Valentine's day. So check back for that post if you're interested in having your own tulle wreath.

Moving forward... our dining room.

We hate our chandelier. Let me just start off by making that statement. However, in terms of Christmas decor, it was great to decorate. Some icicle ornaments and ribbons perked it right up. I strung together some glass balls with fishing line to make the little grouping on the bottom.

On the table, I added a basket of the same glass balls I used on the chandelier.

On the wall, I made a simple yarn wreath and attached a pointsettia. Oh, you want directions for that? Wrap yarn around a styrofoam wreath form. Seriously, that's it. Not even kidding.

I also added some Christmas scrapbook paper and little crystal twigs to our frames. The total cost was about $3.00 and it really helped add to the holiday feel of the decor. The crystals are a little bit hard to see in the picture, but they're there.

Now if you'll follow me into our living room...

To visually "fill out" the mantle I wrapped some 1"-thick styrofoam sheets like packages and placed them behind our decorations.

The peppermint wreaths hanging in front are, you guessed it, more simple DIY. This time, instead of yarn, I wrapped the styro wreath forms in ribbon.

I should also mention that the wreaths are hanging from a curtain rod. The rod is supported by 2 stocking holders. While I didn't buy stockings this year, in the future I'll be able to hang decorations and stockings without having to buy lots of over-priced holders. Its another great idea I stole from Pinterest.

While these next pictures aren't of decor, they're still some other DIY projects that I managed to turn out before losing my mind running out of time before Christmas.

The top picture is of the Christmas cards that I made. Yes, they're a little unconventional, but so am I so they worked out well. Plus everyone seemed to like them, so who am I to argue? The bottom picture is of two very special gifts that went out to two very special ladies in FL and MA. I'll address the gifts in a separate post, since they were also DIY, but I just wanted to plant the seed into your imaginations as to what could be inside of those boxes that is epic enough to warrant its own post. Stay tuned...

So there you have it. Our Christmas, briefly summed up in photos. We were lucky enough to share the time with my parents who came down from NJ to celebrate with us... which is the real reason I was too busy to post this earlier. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves, despite the fact that they were here during the only week that we had cold/rainy weather. This of course did not stop my dad from golfing, but he did return home with a lovely cold as a reminder of his determination.

I hope y'all enjoyed your holiday season as much as we did, and welcome to 2012!