SpRiNg….come here!

I have been LOVING this weather lately, along with everyone else, I’m sure.  And the daffodils popping up everywhere just makes me smile as I drive around town.  Today I decided to do some yard work out back in preparation for spring planting.  There were (and still are) so many leaves in my backyard!  I didn’t get very far in my progress, due to the afternoon showers that hit.  Speaking of those showers, how is it possible to have hail coming down when it’s 80 degrees outside!?  I was just sitting on my couch as it got darker and darker outside, and when the rain got here, all of a sudden a huge gust of wind came through with about 30 seconds of HAIL STORMING!  I was shocked. I thought tree branches were falling on my roof, but when I got up to look around there were big balls of ice covering my yard.  Crazy.  Luckily it didn’t last long.  And although it’s still raining, the sun is coming back out 🙂

Anyways, so I went out today and clipped some daffodils from the yard, and they look just lovely on my mantle.  Along with the flowers I clipped earlier this week from my Valentine’s bouquet (which, yes, is reaching it’s last days of beauty), the house is starting to look more and more springy each day!  I love it.

 
 Well, I think a little afternoon nap is in order. I had to get an early start today for my jury duty, which luckily I got out of.  Technically, I’ve never changed my voters registration, I just drive back to Hoover if I want to vote.  Well, Hoover and Homewood are in different justice systems, so it turned out that I didn’t even qualify to serve as a jury in that court system.  Yay!  Saved from jury duty once again 🙂

darn night shift

Majority of the time I don’t mind working night shift.  Sure, there are things I miss out on in the evenings when everyone else is off from work.  And sometimes sleeping all day between shifts can be annoying (especially recently when the weather has been so nice!).  It actually has its perks sometimes when I’m able to stay awake after working the night before, and I can still do things the next day…whatever that may be.  BUT, every now and then I get days like I’ve had this week, that makes me hate night shift.

I was off work over the weekend, but had to work Sunday night.  Sunday morning we got up for church, had lunch, had a little bridesmaids get together with my sister and her bridesmaids, so by 4pm I was able to lay down for a nap. Slept for 2 hours, then worked my night shift. By Monday morning I was pretty tired, so I laid down to sleep for a few hours and next thing I knew it was 5pm.  And that proceeded to ruin the rest of my week.  Monday night, Tuesday night and Wednesday night I was awake until about 3 and 4am, and of course slept until about 3 or 4pm Tuesday and Wednesday.  Thursday I finally was up and awake before noon, so I had a full day to enjoy.  But then somehow today I felt exhausted and ended up sleeping all day again (until about 4pm).

Since I typically don’t like working 3 nights in a row, I don’t usually get many long breaks off from work.  4 days off is a good break for me, and unfortunately this round I didn’t get to enjoy much of it.  There’s not much you can do when you’re day starts at 4pm.  Luckily I get a LONG break (6 days off) early in March.  Let’s just hope this doesn’t happen again!

fun with registries

For two people who have been living on their own, in their own houses for at least 2 years, who already have a lot of the typical basics, I’m actually a little torn about wedding registries. As in, there’s too many places I want to register!  Is that bad?  The problem is there’s several items I/we want at several different places, but not a whole lot of items at any one particular place.  For example, I love the serveware and flatware I found at Pottery Barn.  We went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond tonight and found several kitchen appliances, cookware, and utility-type items we like.  We decided we might go to Sears to look for tools and household gadgets we need.  And THEN, a friend of mine mentioned she and her husband registered at At Home (in Homewood, AL) for their household items.  I LOVE AT HOME.  I would have never thought to register there, and I don’t get to shop there much cause it’s mostly out of my price range. But I love that place.  But registering at 4 locations seems a bit ridiculous. 3 registries sounds ok, but 4?…whoa.

Any thoughts?  My concern is not many people will even know what or where At Home is.  But, we could register there and the people who know about it hopefully will go there, and the people who haven’t will just try the other places.  Or, I might get there and find all the same type stuff from At Home that I have registered for at Pottery Barn, in which case I’ll like either option, so it’s a win-win situation.

This post is getting boring, I’m sorry. The wheels in my brain are turning and it’s just pouring out onto the keyboard. My apologies.

In short, we had fun picking out goodies tonight.  We haven’t done a lot of wedding planning in the last few weeks, so it was fun getting back into it tonight.  And surprisingly we agreed on most stuff, which is good.  Another fun night for the future Mr. and Mrs. 🙂

the best lasagna ever

I wanted to share with you the recipe for the lasagna we cooked for the guys last weekend.  I believe the word Greg used was “incredible!”  Thanks to my good friend DK for discovering it, and thanks to the Pioneer Woman for creating it!  The great thing about this lasagna was its simplicity. Unfortunately, though, it’s not packed with many veggies. I might try to add some next time.  Not that it lacked at all in taste, but it never hurts to mix some veggies into a meal. (especially for someone like me who never eats veggies on the side!)  Ok, so here it is. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1½ lbs. ground beef
  • 1 lbs. hot breakfast sausage
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (14.5 Ounce) whole tomatoes
  • 2 cans (6 Ounce) tomato paste
  • 4 Tablespoons dried parsley (divided in half)
  • 2 Tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoon salt (divided in half) 
  • 3 cups lowfat cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup grated (not Shredded) Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lbs. sliced mozzarella cheese (approximately) 
  • 1 package (10 Ounce) lasagna noodles

DIRECTIONS:
1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. (add 1/2 teaspoon salt to boiling pasta water)
2.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan, combine ground beef, sausage, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain off the fat.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 Tbs. parsley, 2 Tbs. basil and 1 tsp. salt. After adding the tomatoes, the sauce mixture should simmer for approx 30-45 minutes while you are working on the other steps.
3.  In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmesan, 2 more tablespoons parsley, and 1 more teaspoon salt. Stir together well. Set aside.
4.  Cook lasagna until “al dente”

To assemble:
1. Arrange cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a baking pan, overlapping if necessary. Spoon half the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread evenly. Cover cottage cheese with a layer of sliced mozzarella cheese. Spoon a little less than half the meat/sauce mixture over the top.

2.  Repeat, ending with meat/sauce mixture. Sprinkle top generously with extra Parmesan.
3.  Either freeze, refrigerate for up to two days, or bake immediately: 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until top is hot and bubbly.

beach time

Over the weekend, Greg, myself and a few of our friends took a trip to the beach for a little getaway. The weather was nice and sunny and it was a great time to relax.  It was also a birthday trip!  Greg’s friend turned 26 on Sunday and to celebrate his girlfriend took the two of them skydiving.  So of course the rest of us went to spectate and capture it all on video and photo.  I will say I’m actually much less afraid of skydiving after seeing it all happen.  It looked like so much fun!! And they had a blast!  Neither of them had been before, and they could not stop talking about how great it was the rest of the day.  I might have made a deal with Greg that I would try it before we got married.  😉   We’ll see how much he holds me to it!  Here’s a shot I got on my camera from the adventure…

Although the weather was nice, it wasn’t quite warm enough to lay out by the pool or spend much time on the beach. But we did enjoy lunch at LuLu’s after the skydiving adventure, and lounging in the hot tubs.  One night we got to watch the sunset from the hot tub and that was nice.  We also did lots of cooking over the weekend. The guys cooked us chili and grilled cheeses one night, with banana splits for dessert. Then the girls cooked lasagna, along with chocolate cake for the birthday boy! Then Valentine’s day arrived, and our sweet boys surprised us with beautiful flowers they had picked out.  It was such a great time spent with our friends that we love. As we grow older, and eventually get married and start families of our own, it’s important to also maintain relationships with our friends.  Greg and I are blessed to have a great group of friends who all enjoy each others’ company.  I hope these relationships stay just as strong for many years to come!
 


running from the cold

 

I love living in Alabama. Granted, I’ve never lived anywhere else, so I could be a little biased, but nonetheless I love my southern home.  Part of that is I’m a wimp to the cold, so the north is out.  But Alabama has been kicking my butt lately with all this snow!  Typically, one good snowy day in a winter season is about all we usually expect around here.  But, this year I’m starting to lose count.  Let’s see, we had a white Christmas (which, was lovely, so I can’t complain about that!), then we had another few snowy/icy days early January and now another snow day yesterday.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a good romp in the snow, and I enjoyed driving around yesterday morning taking pics of the snow, cause it’s oh. so. beautiful!  I just hate being cold!  haha.

Today I received my March 2011 issue of Country Living magazine.  If you don’t subscribe to this magazine, please do so soon. I love it! Absolutely LOVE it.  🙂   Anyways, this issue got me really pining for springtime.  It had some gardening tips and spring decor ideas.  I really would like to do some landscaping work on my house this spring. The backyard is just so…blah.  Last summer I filled the back deck with all sorts of potted flowers, but this year I wanna put flowers out into the yard. I love hydrangea bushes, and think they would look really great out there. I just wonder about the quality of the soil in my border beds. Might have to do some serious hauling-in of some good dirt.  It would be worth it though!

Alright, well I’m off to pack. Some friends and I are headed south to enjoy a little beachy gettaway. It won’t be warm enough to actually lay out on the beach, but the hot tubs are calling our name!  Oh, and Happy (early) Valentine’s Day!!!  Can’t wait to spend it with my sweetie 🙂

i have been summoned

Summoned for jury duty. YUCK!  How is it I have been called for jury duty twice now since turning 18??  Luckily the first time I was a full-time college student, so I got out of it.  Maybe that’s why I’ve already been called again.  Sigh.  I have no idea what to expect.  I mean, am I actually going to be making decisions about someone sentencing??  haha, I guess that’s a dumb question.  Duh, that’s the point of a jury.  The ONLY good thing so far is it gets me out of work Sunday night prior to Monday morning’s session.  The Sunday night of the Oscars! 

Speaking of the Oscars, how excited am I that Anne Hathaway and James Franco are hosting?? I love them!  It should be a good show.  A funny conversation happened the other night.  One of my girlfriends was asking me if I was working this Sunday (Super Bowl Sunday).  Very nonchalantly, I answered “yes,” but quickly commented how I was bummed that I had to work Sunday night of the Oscars! Greg turns to both of us and laughs and comments about how differently that conversation would have been between 2 guys.  Super Bowl vs. the Oscars???  Clearly we have different priorities!  And luckily (or unluckily) I have jury duty, so yay Oscars!