Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu Planning Monday!

Lol some day I'm going to get more creative with these Menu Planning Monday post titles!
Oh well.
This whole deal is hosted by Laura over at OrgJunkie!

So, Monday again!
Which means another Weight Watchers Meeting!
I am happy to say that this week was a much happier weigh-in for me than last week!
The scale today said that I have lost 3 pounds since last Monday!
That's the weight I had gained back and more besides!
Including adjustment for my first weigh in with shoes, that means I've lost 5 pounds!
I might make it to my 5% weight loss before we get pregnant after all!

So, with that goal in sight and coming off of a great week--on to this week's menu!

BREAKFAST:  A fried egg with yogurt, or an eggy-in-the-basket with fresh fruit and milk
LUNCH:  A turkey, cheese and mushroom sandwich with fruit or cucumbers OR a salad from me, and leftovers for Bryan
MONDAY:  Beef-Vegetable Pie
TUESDAY:  Parsley and Lemon Crumb-Coated Tilapia
WEDNESDAY:  Spaghetti with a BIG salad and garlic bread yummmmm
FRIDAY:  Pita Pizzas
SATURDAY:  Leftovers or out to eat
SUNDAY:  Tacos or a big salad

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I'm 26!

What a weekend!
I can't believe I'm now 26 years old!
Funny how it still feels like 25 lol.
Friday was my actual birthday and my hubby stayed home with me!
Well, he was home because he was sick, but still!
I got a whole extra day with him!  That was a wonderful birthday present!
Another wonderful present was all of the many happy birthday wishes on Facebook from
so many of my friends and family!

And no, those weren't the only presents I received!
My wonderful hubby bought me the fancy cover for my Kindle!
And he even WRAPPED IT in a Sock Monkey gift bag with matching tissue paper!
I ripped into it to find my lovely new toy!
This cover has a built-in reading light and the whole thing hooks up to my Kindle
so that the LED reading light is POWERED by the Kindle!
Also, as I proved Friday night, with this light I can stay up reading late into the night
without the light keeping Bryan awake!

During the day on Friday Bryan and I worked on the game room upstairs!
After some touch ups on Saturday, four of the six and a half walls are now completely painted and dry!
And it looks AWESOME if I do say so myself!

The night of my birthday we were going to go out to eat at BJs Brewery
with some friends, but the wait for the 6 of us was over an hour!
So Lindsay's boyfriend Ben had the brilliant idea to go to Outback Steakhouse!
He called, and by the time we walked over our table was ready!
We had so much fun with Lindsay and Ben and Ethan and Julie!
It was too dark to get a picture of all of us, so here' a picture of my birthday dessert instead!
And no, this didn't get tracked lol.

On Saturday, my Nannie and Papa drove down and took Bryan and me out to
BJs Brewery for lunch!
Lol I was going to eat there for my birthday one way or another!
It was wonderful, and Nannie gave me a beautiful keepsake music box 
which was promptly put in my china cabinet.
That night Bryan's Papa and Mimi took us to Cheddar's for dinner!
Little Raleigh was with us and I enjoyed her fascination with the water fountain at the restaurant!
I also taught her how to say plant!
Ok, not really--she isn't even two yet--but I DID teach her the inflection for plant and she kept 
returning to the foliage and touching the plant and making the sound!
Lol it was so much fun!

Saturday afternoon Bryan, our friend Jake, and I went a ways down the road
to a used appliances store and Bryan bought an old refrigerator for the garage!
The plan is to turn it into a kegerator for when we start brewing our own beer and making our own wine!
Bryan's birthday present was most of the tools needed to start brewing, and once the fridge is 
set up, we're good to go!
Or rather, Bryan and Jake are good to go--by the time we actually have something
ready to put in the kegerator I will most definitely not be drinking!
Speaking of which, I'm officially off of ALL of my meds, except for the vitamins and such!
Which means we get to start trying to have a kiddo very soon!
Now, if only this weather will cut me some slack and stop throwing fronts my way,
I will be a very happy girl!

Anyway, today we got up and went to church for the third Sunday in a row!
And as is quickly becoming tradition, Bryan and I went for a one-on-one lunch after the service.
I really enjoy the church we've been visiting and the blended service at 9:45,
and Bryan likes it as well.
Today's message was about serving the next generation either as parents (soon enough!)
or as volunteering with younger people.
I'm seriously thinking about seeing how I can volunteer with the youth group
along with any other serving group or Bible study I might join.

I miss working with high schoolers--a feeling emphasized today when, after we returned home,
I logged in to the teacher Facebook account I set up at the beginning of this school year.
I had so many messages from former students wishing me a happy birthday, saying they missed me, 
and updating me on their lives!
It made my birthday even more special and wonderful!
 I know that I will never be able to replace the kiddos I had to leave when I was put on disability--
thank goodness for Facebook which lets me keep in touch--
but I'm thinking that by volunteering with the youth group at the church, I would still 
get to work with and help kiddos of the same age group.

All in all, this was a wonderful birthday and a fantastic weekend!
Bryan and I have been running errands all day, so now I'm going to go
relax with him while he reads his new beer brewing book and I read my new
Kindle books.  While we watch the X-Games!
Sounds like fun to me!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Coconut Shrimp!

I've really been slacking off on posting recipes lately!
And that is quite a shame because I've been coming across some that are quite excellent.
As I mentioned in my Chicken Marsala recipe post, I've been using the recipes available to me
as a Weight Watchers Monthly Pass member on Menu Planning Mondays to plan out our week's dinners.
Every recipe I've tried so far has been fairly tasty--but a few have been exceptional.
The Chicken Marsala was one, and the Coconut Shrimp was another!

I know, I can Coconut Shrimp be a Weight Watchers recipe?
What about the frying?!  The oil?!  The batter?!
I was skeptical as well, but the recipe and the resulting meal proved me very wrong indeed!
 So, without further ado, here's the wonderful and easy Coconut Shrimp recipe!

This recipe makes 6 servings (4 shrimp per serving) at 6 WW points per serving!
Cooking Spray (I use the Pam Olive Oil Spray)
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour (divided into one 1/2 cup and one 1/4 cup)
6 ounces of beer, about 2/3 cup (I used Shiner 101--and my hubby finished it up for me;-)!)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoons of salt
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes (found on the baking aisle, in case you're wondering...I was lol)
24 large shrimp peeled and deveined (the original recipe calls for tails on, but I used tail-less--less work that way!)

The first step is to thaw the frozen shrimp!
I have an awesome cutting board with a rubber, collapse-able collander.
I uncollapsed the collander, put the frozen shimp in it, and ran cold water over them until they were thawed...which took about 5-ish minutes.
While the shrimp is thawing, go ahead and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Next I measured out the ingredients for the batter into a medium mixing bowl.
The two egg whites went first, followed the 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 tsp of baking powder, and the 1/4 tsp of salt.
Next, I measured out the 2/3 cup of beer and added it to the bowl.

It got all bubbly and fizzy!
Once it settled down a bit I started whisking it all together--which caused more bubbling and fizzing!
Once it was all thoroughly mixed, the bubbling and fizzing settled down.
Next, put the remaining 1/4 cup of flour into one shallow bowl 
and the 2 cups of sweetened coconut flakes into another.
I then set up an assembly line with the thawed shrimp at the beginning, followed by the flour bowl,
followed by the batter mix and then the coconut flakes.
At the end of assembly line went the baking sheet, which is sprayed down with the Pam Olive Oil Spray.
All of this so far has been very easy.
The next part is still easy but, fair warning, it can get very tedious.
The first step is to take one of the thawed shrimp and dredge it through the flour, making sure it's completely coated.
Then shake the excess off.

Step two is to dunk the flour-coated shrimp into the batter, again making sure it's completely coated.
Then let the excess drip off back into the batter.
Step three is to roll the shrimp in the sweetened coconut flakes, once again making sure it's completely covered.
Make sure you press the coconut flakes into the batter--this gets messy but it's so worth it!
Then place the shrimp onto the sprayed baking sheet.

And now you repeat.
With each shrimp.
Yes, it's tedious BUT any short-cuts won't ensure the 
proper amount of flour, batter, and coconut coverage.
So, keep at it until all of the 24 shrimp are on the baking sheet.
Next, spray the surface of the shrimp with the Pam Olive Oil Spray and pop the sheet in the oven!
After 10 to 12 minutes, the shrimp will be pink and opaque and the coconut flakes will be crunchy!
(I would recommend the 10 minutes...I did 12 and, as you can see, some of the coconuts flakes got burnt at the tips.)

I served the shrimp with mixed veggies.
There would have been green beans too, but the seal on the SteamFresh bag was messed up.
I also had a Messina Hoff White Zinfindel with the meal and it sure was tasty!

Bryan LOVED this recipe and said it needs to be a repeat...I call that success!

These pictures were taken with my IPhone, so sorry for the blurry shots and weird angles!
I've GOT to find that camera charger lol.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What I Love Wednesday!

What a beautiful day it has been!
The weather has finally gotten back on track.
And I have spent most of the day inside!  lol
Don't worry--my hubby's going on a walk with my and the pups when he gets home!
So, what am I loving this week?

1.  I'm loving the fact that we've made progress on painting the upstairs!
Ok, so it's nowhere near as much as I was hoping we'd have made this time last week.
BUT I have gotten to work with my hubby on a home project--and I LOVE that!

2.  I'm loving Kaze no Stigma, the new anime series I started watching Monday on NetFlix!
I am not loving the fact that the anime will only ever be one season long
due to the untimely passing of its creator, but I love that it stayed good til the very end!
Oh, did I mention that I finished the series today?
Lol, yes I'm that big of a nerd!

3.  I'm loving The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt!
It's a SciFi network Essential Book--from back before that network became SyFy.
It's an epic adventure and an awesome read!

4.  I'm loving my wonderful husband!
He just got home with a birthday present for me!
My birthday's not until Friday, so I won't know what he got me until then!
He's so sweet!

And since he's home, I'm cutting this short!
Time for a walk and then snuggles!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Planning Monday!

Here we are again!
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend--I know I did!
Even if I did badly Weight Watchers-wise...oh well, it's a new week!
And speaking of which, on to the menu plan this week!

BREAKFAST:  Eggy in a basket with fresh fruit and milk, or oatmeal
LUNCH: Turkey and cheese sandwich, or a nice big salad
MONDAY:  Tacos
WEDNESDAY:  Chicken Breast with Honey-Balsamic Glaze
THURSDAY:  Pita Pizzas
FRIDAY:   Out to eat for my birthday!  I'm thinking...BJs Brewery!
SATURDAY:  Leftovers or Beef-Vegetable Pie
SUNDAY:  A big salad or spaghetti

Weekend Fun!

It's already been four days since my last post!
My Faith Friday post from last week is just going to have to wait until this next Friday.
This weekend was great!
Friday I got to go hang out with my friend Alicia!
We haven't had a hang-out in a while and we had so much fun catching up!
For dinner, we met the boys at Saltgrass for dinner and had a wonderful time.
Oh, and did I mention Alicia is a hair stylist extraordinaire!
She colored and cut my hair!
I took this picture using the reverse camera on the IPhone.
My hairs a bit crazy right now--I've been in the rain and such--but I LOVE the color and the length!

Saturday I cleaned the house.
And I mean CLEANED--vacuumed and mopped the floors, dusted, scrubbed the kitchen and the downstairs guest bathroom.
My house was shiny!!!
Then I went shopping at Ross.
It was necessary, I promise!
I looked in my closet the other day, trying to figure out what I had that 
was church-appropriate.
I found one--yes, one--outfit that was not a dress.
So, to Ross I went!
I found 8 tops for about $80 and then ran next door to
TJ Max and found a really cute pair of flats for $20.

That afternoon, mom and dad and Dixie-dog came over.
We hung out until Bryan got back from his ride, and then
they took us out for an early birthday dinner for me!
Dad took us to Perry's!
Can you believe it?!
That place is super-nice.  I'd never been before.
It was delicious!

Sunday we went to church again.
The pastor gave a sermon this Sunday, and we enjoyed his style.
He's more of a conversational preacher than a lecturer, and he has a great
sense of humor that we both enjoyed.
We're still going to visit for a while before deciding to join, 
but I'm really very excited about this church!
Sunday afternoon our friends Mark and Alicia came over.
We had a Sailor Moon marathon!
The boys were good sports--I think Bryan slept a bit, and read a lot, but both
he and Mark hung in there with us!
We ordered out for Chinese for dinner and it was YUMMY!
We had a lot of fun!

Yeah, for those of you who were wondering HOW I managed to eat all those meals out
and still adhere to my Weight Watchers points--yeah, I didn't
I kinda blew it this weekend--today at weigh in I was back up 1.8 pounds.
I think part of it was the large meal last night and part of it is, let's say, water retention.
But oh well!
It's a new week!
I'll do better this week and hopefully see a loss at least equal to what I regained next week!

Today it's raining all day outside.
So I'm hanging in the house and doing the few chores that were left after Sunday's cleaning spree.
Oh, and I'm watching a new (to me!) anime--Kaze no Stigma, and it's AWESOME!
So on that note, back to my episode!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Awww, Thanks!

I'm so happy!  Not to mention flattered!
Today I received this Versatile Blogger award from Amanda over at The Little Yellow House Blog!
I love her photos, and her awesome posts about renovating their first home--the little yellow house!
Her blog is wonderful!

Rules to Accept the Award:
1.  Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2.  Answer 10 Questions.
3.  Pass it along to 7 blogs you've recently discovered and enjoy.
4.  Leave your recipients a note, telling them about the award.

The 10 Questions!
1)  Why did you create this blog? 
Originally, this blog was a place for me to let my thoughts ramble over whatever happened to catch my fancy that day.  More recently, it has become a place to share recipes, ideas, and the happenings in my life, as well as a way for me to express and connect myself to the outside world as I come to terms with being on disability.
2)  What kinds of blogs do you follow? 
All kinds!  I follow cooking blogs, mommy blogs, job blogs, life blogs, and hodge-podge blogs like my own!
I love reading what people write and seeing their life perspectives. 
 3)   Favorite make-up brand 
The funny thing is, until immediately before our wedding, I would have said "Uhhh, I dunno!"
Now, however, I love my BeautiControl makeup and skin care stuff!  It's the best!
4)  Favorite clothing brand? 
I'm really not all that particular...I'll go with favorite clothing STORES instead!
I love Ross, Target, and Old Navy!
5)  Indispensable makeup product? 
I have to have at least my wet-dry powder and my lip gloss.  HAVE TO!!!
6)  Favorite color?
I love green--especially a deep forest green or the color of new leaves.
Blue, however, is a very close second!
7)  Favorite perfume?
I'm ashamed to say I don't have one!  As in, I don't have a perfume, period, let alone a favorite!
I'm probably going to drag the hubby to a store soon to help me pick one out--after all, he's the one who has to smell it!
8)  Favorite film?
Oh wow.  
That's a really hard one!
I'm going to have to go with my top five
:  The Princess Bride, McClintock!, Blazing Saddles, Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version) and the new Star Trek.
I'm really glad the question wasn't favorite book!!! 
9)  What country would you like to visit and why?
Again, that's a tough one!
I'm going to have to go with my top 3 of places I've never been: 
Germany, because it's where my ancestors were from.
Italy, for the history, the culture, and the beaches!
Antigua, for the beaches!
10)  Would you rather forget to put mascara on one eye or blush on one side of your face?
I would rather forget the mascara, hands down!

And now to pass the award on!
Here are my 7 new blogs--well, new and newer to me anyway!--that I definitely think deserve the Versatile Blogger Award!
And here they are in no particular order!
1.  Fins at One Day at a Time
2.  Alicia at Cherry Gal Blossoming
3.  Megan at Mackey Madness
4.  Manda at My Life in the Making
5.  Lauren at Pineapple Pizza
6.  Lauren at Thought With Lauren
7.  Carol at The Bubble Bath Queen 

The notes will be forthcoming!
I hope that, if y'all go check out these other bloggers, that y'all will enjoy them as much as I have!
Thanks again Amanda!


What a Beautiful WILWednesday!

 I found What I Love Wednesdays! through Emily over at Live a Charmed Life, who found it through Jaime.

1)  This weather!!!  It's the 19th of January and it's sunny outside and 60 degrees!

2)  My neighborhood!  It's so beautiful and I feel so fortunate that we were able to live here!

3)  My walking trail!  It's away from any roads and runs by one of the lakes (aka drainage ponds lol).

4)  My New Balance tennis shoes!  They make it possible for me to go on my walks!

5)  Birds!  I love watching birds!  On my walk today I saw various songbirds, two ducks, two egrets, a pelican AND a hawk!  I also love seagulls but there weren't any out and about on my trail this morning!
 By the way, ducks can swim a looong way under water!

6)  Palm trees!  Growing up, whenever we headed to the beach, I knew we were close because palm trees started to appear.  Now I live where the palm trees grow!!!  They make me smile every time I see one, and I love the sound of the wind through the palm leaves!

7)  The puppies!  Live would be much less fun and cuddly without them!
That includes fuzzy nephew Tiberius as well.

8)  Pride and Prejudice, both the book and the BBC version!
I finished rereading the book and am now rewatching the movie!

 9)  I love my blog!  It gives me a place to write and express myself (or just ramble...that happens a lot too lol) and it connects me to all my blog friends, whom I love to read!
(This is an older banner from my blog's past format!)

10)  My husband!  I'm so proud of him--he made a resolution to go to the gym four times a week for six weeks and he's sticking to it!  Of course, I think he's super handsome and sexy anyway :-D!
(This picture is from our trip to Costa Rica last March!  I also love that he loves to read as much as I do!!!)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Post-It Note Tuesday!!!

It's time again for Post-It Note Tuesday!
I got this idea months ago from Supah, and it's a lot of fun!
Click here to make your own Post-Its!
I sure am glad I started doing this again--I had forgotten how much fun it is!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Two Down, One to Go!

And by that I'm referring to the number of months I've been off my RA meds!
Except for the NSAID, of course--I'll go off of that February 12th and stop drinking on Valentine's Day.
Tomorrow would have been my January infusion--
which means that one month from tomorrow my system will be well and truly clean of RA meds.
And that means we can stop trying not to have a kiddo!
Didja follow that? lol
I've been trying to get as ready as I can for a pregnancy.
That's part of the reason I joined Weight Watchers--I'd like to lose some weight before
I get pregnant.
That way I hopefully won't get to be too much heavier than I am now.

I've also been taking prenatal vitamins since November.
If you haven't been down that particular road yet, DEFINITELY take them with food the first several times.
And I don't mean with a piece of toast--I mean a meal.
Even doing this, the first few times I took the vitamins I still experienced about 10 minutes of nausea.
That might sound like a long time but, as I told my pharmacist, after the two-day nausea from methotrexate the prenatal vitamin nausea was a piece of cake!
Boy do I hope morning sickness is as easy to deal with, comparatively.
Now, however, I take the vitamins before bed and don't experience any nausea.

At my OBGyn's advice, I've also started taking short walks regularly, joint pain permitting.
I definitely don't want to aggravate the RA too much since I only have the NSAID trying to control it.
However, walking also helps improve bone density and mine has been steadily decreasing since this whole mess started.
So, I'm trying to build it back up--or at least stop it from falling any further.
I'm also still going to water aerobics.
I want to try to maintain physical activity throughout the pregnancy, 
and right now it seems as though walking and water aerobics are my two best options.
I'm also keeping up my ab exercises but the stationary recumbent bike started aggravating my knees, 
so I've laid off of that for now.

Bryan and I are also working together to get some home projects done.
We've finally picked out a paint--Behr--and a color, so tomorrow I'm going to tape
the upstairs and spot-prime while he's at work.
That way when the hubby gets home, he can apply the first coat!
I'm hoping to have the upstairs done by the end of this week, and at least a good chunk of the downstairs
done before I get pregnant.
Ideally the stairwell would be done by then as well, but I'm not getting my hopes up lol.

Finding a church was also a goal of ours for before the baby actually comes.
If things continue with our current church as well as they began yesterday,
then that goal is well on it's way to being met!

I'm also doing the silly girl thing and browsing through baby furniture
and nursery themes.
Even my mom's laughing at me over this--we're not even trying yet, after all!
But that said, it sure is fun doing all the research and seeing some of our options!

I can't believe there's only another month to go!
I hope we conceive quickly on our own.
That hope is due in part to sheer excitement, but also is due to the fact that 
we only have a limited time before my doctors decide that I need to get pregnant immediately.
Since it will already have been 3 months without meds when we start trying, and I'm alreay
experiencing low-level flare days, we can't allow my RA to continue doing it's thing without
some sort of inhibitor.
The great thing about pregnancy is that, for 75% of women, it throw RA into some form of remission.
So, if I get pregnant quickly, no worries!
I've even already gone off of my birth control pill to help get my body back in sync on its own, 
with the hope that that will facilitate getting pregnant quicker.

And PS to anyone else getting of the good ole BCP--BEWARE the mood swings!!!
I swear, they're almost worse than going through prednisone withdrawal--at least with that
I know I'm only going to have to fight off being a bitch for about a week.
These post-BCP mood swings have been all over the map!
At least now, a month later, it's finally starting to get better.

If not, well, I asked Dr. C (rheumatologist) how long was "too long" in regards to me conceiving--he said it "depended on how I was doing" but that he was "sure they could give us at least a couple of months."
A couple.
As in two.
 That's a big wow--especially seeing as it can take a normal, healthy couple up to a year.

I talked with Dr. F (OBGyn) and she said that when Dr. C made that call, she would 
"walk us downstairs to the wonderful fertility clinic" to see the doctor she "just loves" and we'd be having
"at least twins".

Don't get me wrong--we will be ecstatic whatever (and however many) we have.
But seeing as kids are expensive little critters and I'm going to have to chase him/her/them around 
and still deal with my RA and we still want to be able to travel and have a library and a guest room--
yeah, one sounds plenty good to us!

Anyway, no, this blog is not going to suddenly turn exclusively into a "conception journey blog"
or a "mommy blog"--but I guarantee there will be posts concerning both topics in the coming months.
After all, the title is "Just Thinking" and I have a feeling I'll be thinking about both quite a bit!
As always, thanks for reading!


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