Thursday, October 29, 2009

This Is the Period of Time Which I Will Refer to As Limbo

Today is actually the day that Michael is heading back home for good to start his new job. Unfortunately at this time we do not have another home of our own to go to, but thankfully our parents have offered us a free stay with them until we get settled.

Although I'm very thankful that we don't have to have two mortgage payments or a mortgage and a rent payment, I am some what disturbed about having to move back in with the folks. Honestly, I just don't like moving backwards and that's exactly what it feels like.

Maybe this wouldn't be such a big deal if I had a job to go to everyday, but at this point I don't. So what am I to do all day?

That's the question really....and my problem.

I know they are our parents but it just doesn't feel cool to sit around their house all day. At least at my own home I can do home improvements, clean, cook, and run errands. Although I can still do some of those things at their's still not the same.

It should be interesting as to how all this works out. Maybe it won't be bad as I think (it probably won't). It's just the uncertainty of it.

The crazy thing is that absolutely everything in my life is completely up in the air. Nothing is pegged down. But one thing is for sure....we are heading in the right direction.

And that's what's important.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What's to Eat Wednesday? Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins

I can't believe it is already time for another What's to Eat Wednesday? post. Time does fly! This week I thought I would share a recipe with you that I just cooked over the weekend for Michael's parents. It is fresh out of the Southern Living November issue. It's a must try if you love coffee cake!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
24 paper baking cups
1 cup pecan halves, finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add 2 cups sugar, beating 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla, beating until blended.

2. Whisk together flour and next 3 ingredients; gradually stir into butter mixture. (Batter will be thick.)

3. Place baking cups in muffin pans. Spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full.

4. Stir together pecans, 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle pecan mixture over batter.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks (about 12 to 15 minutes).

I'm sorry I have no picture for you! I have been a total slacker. I promise they are wonderful though and definitely good enough for company.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Please Forgive My Tardiness!

I feel awful because due to the distraction of moving I totally forgot to accept a lovely award from Allyson over at Pink Flip Flops & Wine. Be sure to check her out!

The Best Blog Award rules are:

1) To accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his/her blog link.

2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you have recently discovered and think are great! Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Ok so I always majorly slack on picking particular blogs to award because I think they are all great in their own way so congrats to all who are reading this! Consider yourself awarded! Go check out Allyson and pass on the love to those who need it!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What's to Eat Wednesday on Thursday: Caramel Apple Spice

So I'm an idiot and thought yesterday was Tuesday...I guess I can't keep my days straight anymore. I was really looking forward to sharing this recipe too! It's one of my favorite fall drinks at Starbucks and I was determined to figure out a more economical solution. It's not EXACTLY as good as theirs, but it satisfies my craving!

Caramel Apple Spice

Start with Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Mix from Wal-Mart.

Follow directions on packet.

Add 1 tablespoon of caramel to the drink.
Top with Whipped Cream and drizzle caramel on top.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Art of Being Thankful

I had a revelation yesterday...

I decided it was time for me to try to be more thankful in life. I explained this to my husband, who eagerly said he is very excited for this new Laura and that he might even do more things just to be appreciated more. Hmm, I thought. How nice...this could work out just lovely.

But then I realized...

My personality has a very vicious cycle really. It's going to be quite hard to become this new Laura. I've never been one of those "happy, go lucky" girls. I'm quieter. I'm more sarcastic and dare I say cynical. I wouldn't describe myself as a, that's not exactly it...I would venture to say that I am a little on the negative side though.

The problem is that I believe my sarcastic, cynical side is what makes me funny. Is that wrong? I'm not trying to bring every one down. I'm more trying to make light of not so fantastic situations.

The point is.....if I am more thankful/appreciative and focused on seeing the "bright side", will I still be funny?

The reason that I came to this revelation is that I have realized that my life is much less drama filled these days (thank God) and I have been forced to actually look for the negative side of things. Crazy, right?

I think the key is going to be finding balance....being thankful all while still making light of negative situation.

"I am so thankful that the grass got mowed yesterday...even though they apparently forgot to bag it and my dog is now dyed green and my house is full of grass shavings that I can't vacuum because of all the boxes crowding my house because thankfully God has answered our prayers to move closer to home."

Balance right?

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm Drowning in All This Clutter!

I have to admit, I have been feeling a little crazy here lately. Everything is so out of place...the house feels like a total wreck and it is getting to me. I have bought a couple pieces of new furniture that will help make our space look bigger (and also things we will need for the future home) but the old furniture is still here too. Not to mention obviously boxes and crap is everywhere!

Today, I am going to change all that though. I am going to clean and organize and try to get our life somewhat back to normal. We have (crazily enough) packed a majority of things over the weekend which is good and hauled some things to the storage unit. My goal today is to get some more odds and ends packed and get things back in order.

Obviously we aren't packing EVERYTHING just yet, but we have been pulling things out of the closets and just trying to make things a little less cluttered and a little more presentable. I just want to hurry up and get it listed.

Michael's parents also may be coming up this weekend although at this point I would be embarrassed for them to see our house! They thankfully have a truck though and will be helping us to haul away some of the furniture we won't be using which will make me feel a thousand times better!

Even though I'm slightly annoyed at this point, I am still sooooooooo very excited!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Reflection

Yesterday was a sad day for me. One year ago, a friend died in a car accident. He wasn't just a friend, he was a good friend at one time and the first boyfriend I ever really cared about.

His death was one of the main reasons I started this blog. There were so many thoughts in my head that I just couldn't get them out on paper and I was having trouble with trying to talk to people about them and I needed a place to release. I have to say I didn't really ever end up talking about his death directly on here, but in some way it provided comfort.

His death was a sudden reminder that nothing is promised to you in life. Things do not always turn out like you think they might and you are not promised another day, another hour, another minute. You can not go back and say the things that were left unsaid.

Somethings in life do not make sense and it will drive you crazy to try to find the reasoning for everything that has ever happened to you no matter how hard you try. Somethings will always be a mystery.

I discovered that letting go is one of my biggest obstacles in life. I also learned that it is a big necessity.

His death taught me to be thankful for what I have and for the things in life that I have gotten and hopefully will get to experience that he never did and never will.

His death showed me what a strong faith his family had in God. They amazed me by actually celebrating his homecoming. Something I was too selfish to do at the time. I think about them a lot and about the pain they must experience every single day.

Most of all, his death taught me that unfortunately life will always bring change and you won't always be ready.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Can Tell You Now!!!

So now that it is truly official, I can tell you......we are MOVING!!! I'm so excited. We have been waiting to get closer to home for awhile now and it is finally happening. Michael got a pretty big promotion and they are relocating him in 2 weeks! It's happening and it's happening fast!

While I love where I currently live, there is one thing that's missing and that's our family. I've lived in Knoxville for over 7 years now and I've realized that I'm just one of those people that needs to be surrounded by family. It's one of the top priorities in my life and I know that in order to start our own family, we will need their support.

There is so much to do to get moved and things have already started falling into place. I have the storage unit rented, the counter tops ordered, and have already started bubble wrapping all the breakables. Packing is very overwhelming. Who knew we had so much crap!?! (Isn't that what everyone says when they move?) A lot of it has to be done fast since I will need Michael's assistance on some of the "handyman" projects (I'm not so handy) and he will be leaving soon! My HOPE is to get it on the market fast and hopefully it will sell fast so we can start our new lives.

I'm extremely excited and happy and I'm sure there will be much more to come on this topic. YAY!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's to Eat? Wednesday: Chicken Chili

It's fall which means it's officially time for chili. I decided to try a new kind of chili with no beans and no beef....just plain chicken and veggies. I love chunky chili and this one definitely hit the spot. Again it's an Ina Garten recipe....she has never let me down. The one tip I can give you for making this recipe is to do larger sized chops on everything.

Chicken Chili


4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
1/8 cup minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

Chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream


Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times). Add to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Tease and a Late Summary of the Weekend

Okay, so I have big news and I can't tell just yet. It's killing me.

I'm excited though and hopefully tomorrow I will be able to tell.

Aghh the suspense!

Onto what I can tell you...

We had a really great weekend. First of all we got big news (hehe, had to tease you again)! Second of all we went to visit my sister and her boyfriend. We had a lot of fun playing rock band, going out to eat, and touring the base and a local museum (her boyfriend is in the army), but that really wasn't what made the weekend so great for me.

The great part to me was seeing how happy my sister was.

It has been a long, slow process for her, but I think she is finally at a good place in her life. She seems very content with where she is and has also seemed to find a great relationship. Her relationship has allowed her to be herself as well as motivated her to work on herself for the sake of the relationship.

My hope is that the happiness continues and maybe we won't have anymore major bumps in the road. There's nothing like a happy ending! Or should I say...a happy beginning?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What's To Eat Wednesday? An Herb Garden

So I have a new project that I'm 98% sure I will fail at. (I know, that sentence is terrible first the lack of confidence and then to top it off it is ended with a preposition!!!) How dare I!

Anyways, you want to know why I almost know I will fail? Well, I kill everything I touch! Anything green that is.

I am trying anyways to grow my own herb garden though. I'm sick and tired of paying $2 a piece for a package of herbs. So it's time for a change. Well, not time yet. It will actually take awhile for me to grow my own herbs, but that's okay. Good things take time right?

So I invite you to follow me on my journey of success (or failure) of growing an herb garden.

Step 1: Buy seed packets (oh and there are A LOT of seeds in one packet, don't be fooled by their size!)
Step 2: Buy this nifty Jiffy Seed Starter Kit at your local Home Depot.
Step 3: Pour some hot water over the odd looking brown pellets.

Step 4: Wait for them to grow at least 1 inch tall.

Step 5: Pull away the netting at the top and plant 3 seeds a piece!

Step 6: Cover and wait.

To Be Continued.........................

Monday, October 5, 2009

Did You Know Men Only Hear 20% of What Women Say?

Example #1

Scene: Setting up new lamps in the bedroom.

Me: Michael, will you check to see if we have anymore light bulbs downstairs? These lamps take 60 watts and I only see 75's.

Michael: I checked and we don't have any.

Me: Well, we can just use the 75's for now to see what they look like.

5 minutes later

Michael: Where are those other light bulbs you said you had?

Me: We don't have anymore remember you went down to check....

Michael : Oh I thought you found some?

Me: Nope

3 minutes later

Michael: Where are the 60 watts? These lamps don't take 75's.


Example #2

Scene: Cell phone conversation

Michael: I'm going to the store to get us lunch. Do you need anything else while I'm there?

Me: Are you going to Kroger's or Wal-Mart

Michael: Probably Kroger's

Me: Okay good. I need some fabric softener and they don't carry our kind at Wal-Mart. It's Downy in a navy bottle with a gray top.

10 minutes later....

Michael: Hey, I don't see that fabric softener you want.

Me: Where are you?

Michael: Wal-Mart.



My husband and I are incredibly lucky to live just about an hour or so away from the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. It is so beautiful and in my opinion one of the best places to visit during the fall. We have been trying to go, no kidding, for about 4 weekends and it has rained each time, but this weekend seemed like the perfect chance.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend occurred when we were driving from the campsite to a trail (which ended up being all uphill). We turned a corner on a windy road and BAM a Black Bear was right smack in front of us. I stared in shock with my mouth open and said HOLY CRAP it's a bear and started scurrying around for the camera and he was gone. I completely FAILED at getting a picture. How terrible is that?

Apparently there are around 1,500 bears in the park and as many times as we have been up there we have never spotted one. I'm glad I finally got to see one though. It's truly amazing to see that kind of wildlife in their own habitat. Although, I have to say, I was quite scared for the rest of our stay.

It seems as though we picked to stay during prime bear season. There were hunters staying in our campgrounds (we were on the edge of the national park) and signs everywhere such as this one...

We also saw bear tracks on the trails we hiked...

And my wonderful husband decided to throw a hot dog into the woods beside our tent....thanks for trying to attract them honey.

(photo from

But we made it out alive and with a memory we will never forget!
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