Tuesday, February 28, 2012

White Chocolate Popcorn

Usually when I make a snack from scratch its something that we have for about a week that we snack on after dinner or grab to go in the car, but the white chocolate popcorn I made recently was gone in less than 48 hours. The best part- Ryan and I are the only ones that enjoyed it.

We originally had made plans for friends to come over, so I wanted to make a little treat. But when they both got sick, we figured we had to eat it anyway :)

Here's the recipe courtesy of The Sister's Cafe' blog:
2 bags microwave popcorn
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 bag white chocolate chips (2 cups)
1/2-1 cup Reeses Pieces
Pop the popcorn then sift through to remove all unpopped kernels. Soften the PB in the microwave over 30 seconds, stir into popcorn to coat evenly. Melt the white chocolate either in a double broiler or in the microwave (over 2 minutes on 50% power, then stir chips until smooth). Pour over popcorn and gently stir to coat popcorn evenly with chocolate. Add Reeses Pieces as you stir in the chocolate. Spread out popcorn on waxed paper to set. Enjoy!- and we did!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winter Walk

Since we are now officially Minnesotans ( you must live in the state one year to call yourself a true notherner), we noticed that no matter what time of the year, we always find ourselves enjoying the outdoors. Of course in the summer we're outside a higher percentage of the time, but you get what I mean. :)

Even though it was a cool 20 degrees a few weekends ago, Ryan and I noticed that Lola needed to burn off some energy. So away to the trails we went. The winter here has been a bit nicer this year than last- so it makes it easier to get out and go. And the best part- the city of Eden Prairie clears all of the trails in their parks and around their lakes- so they make it that much easier to enjoy the outdoors.

We played a little fetch.

And did some running on the frozen lake.

Lola wasn't quite sure why the entire ground was slippery, but it didn't stop her from trying to chase after some ducks. :)

Ryan enjoyed his winter walk and gave it a thumbs up. We're so excited for spring, see ya later winter!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Master Frame Project

I knew that our master bedroom was in need of a little love when after we painted, I looked around and noticed that we had 1 thing hanging on our wall. Just 1 measly little thing, and we have lived in this house for a year now. (A year yesterday to be exact).

So, while Ryan was away on a business trip I decided it was time to go to work. I have been seeing lots of cute shelf/frame/art things on pinterest and the blogs that I follow, but I couldn't find anything just right. I didn't want a shelf that stuck out far, because I didn't want it to be obtrusive, and I didn't want short little shelves either. Enter Ikea. I had been browsing on their site the other day when I came across these photo ledges. They were PERFECT!!! So, I headed over and purchased 2 of the 45 1/4" ledges in white.

But you can't leave Ikea without browsing, right? And that's where I found some great 8x10 and 4x5 white frames. We had the mirror, blue birds, candles and statue, so the rest was ready to go!

Of course I have added pictures to the frames as of now, but here's the photo right after I cleared the power tools off the dresser. oh- and you can see a true image of the gray/blue we painted our master bedroom. Its so soothing in there now compared to the stark white. WE love it!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Super Bowl Fail

Every year my office does a super bowl dip contest, this was the very first year that I have been at C+M for the contest, so I decided to throw my hat into the ring.

Of course I was pumped! The night before the contest I prepared my dip, a football field full of salsa, nacho cheese and green Chile dip complete with pretzel stick field goal posts.

What I didn't realize was that the mixture was still a bit gelatinous the next morning, and that my drive to work has many twists and turns. Sadly, the dip didn't quite make it....I'll spare you the after picture because it was less than appetizing. But here's the before, wasn't it adorable?

Too bad it didn't make it...oh well, there's always next year!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." - Gandhi

I'm usually not one to quote Gandhi, but when I heard this saying the other day I grabbed a sharpy and a post it note and posted it to my computer at work. Exhibit A:

After all, how many times do you think one thing in your head and then put on a happy face to deal with the pressures of the real-world? And how often do people tell you something they believe in and then contradict themselves by not acting that way in day-to-day life? Just how often do what you think, say and do really all land on the same page? How often do you consciously choose your emotion for the day? Think about it.

I was sitting in traffic on my drive to work this morning, just listening to music and thinking about my day ahead. I was smiling. I was happy, I had a lot to look forward to. But then I realized, that I made a conscious decision, I chose to be happy. I have a great life, a great husband, great job, family and friends. I have a great God, and a great love that surrounds me, anything that is thrown in my way I will find the strength to deal/cope/overcome.

I think that my positive outlook on life also pairs with reality. While things may not be perfect every minute of every hour of every day, you still need to look on the bright side and find a way to say, "is this really my life?, how did I get so lucky to be blessed with so much?" instead of looking at the glass half empty. It's all about how you react. I think that's why I like the movie "The Breakup" so much. While Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn are two of my favorites, surprisingly its not the actors that made this movie. Its the storyline, the fact that in the end, things don't end up all peachy and rosy. Because that's life- that's your reality show folks.

Its what you choose that makes you who you are. If you choose to laugh at life's imperfections rather than blow them up, if you choose to trust your gut and go with the flow rather than analyze every detail, if you choose to let others have control over you rather than choosing your own destiny. It's all about choosing your reaction and your emotion. Because in the end, determining who you are isn't set in stone. It's ever changing. But making sure that what you think, say and do aren't in conflict is important.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Busy, But Loved

From the beginning of this year and at our new year's eve dinner, Ryan and I have both been telling each other that we just need to get through the middle of February with work. Usually when one of us is busy at work, the other isn't...but January and early February are a different story. We're both busy busy.

Ryan traveled to D.C. and to Omaha already at the beginning of January. Just this last week we both worked through the weekend, and then I took off to Chicago for a business trip on Sunday, and returned Monday. We thankfully had Tuesday together, before he left for Indianapolis Wednesday through Friday. We haven't had much time together, so we're looking forward to the upcoming weekends.

After my business trip, I was home with pink eye for a day trying not to spread it to my entire office and Lola kept me company while I took refuge in our bed.

At first she was polite and pushed her paw up to my level and looked to her left

After not responding to her, she moved her head to the right and eyed me with those big brown eyes.

After finally paying attention to her she looked at me as if to say "Mom, I'm glad you're home...

...now, please pet me."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Not just for college kids anymore!

Ryan joined a broom ball league with a local church after being invited by one of his co-workers. He was so excited to play that he invited me along to watch. I was nervous about standing in a crowd of people that I didn't know and shivering while we sipped hot chocolate, but we had a great time.

Sadly, Ryan's team lost, but I got to have a great conversation with a few of the other wives/girlfriends of his team members.

Ryan will be playing each Sunday evening until the end of February. As much as I'd love to go and watch each game, I think cheering him on in the inaugural one was good enough :)

Chatting with his team mates before the start of the game

IN ACTION! (Ryan's the one with the ball)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Curiosity Killed the Cat...

I'm sure you've heard the term Curiosity Killed the Cat. But have you heard the term Curiosity makes silly dogs get into precarious positions? No? Oh well, then I just made it up.

Since Lola is now such a big girl at 1 year old, Ryan and I decided to take out the small barriers (cork board and picture) that were keeping her from going behind the couch in our family room. See when Lola was a puppy she liked to find the smallest places and just lay down inconspicuously, and sometimes we couldn't find her! But since there are cords behind the couch we didn't want to risk her biting the cords and getting electrocuted, but she's far too large, weighing in at 58 lbs nowadays, to get back there.

Or so we thought. As we were watching TV one night we noticed Lola wasn't lying in her normal spot. And after looking to the left we noticed she had shimmied her way back behind the side table to check out what was behind the couch.

I have no idea how she got back there. But getting out was quite the process. Let's just say that the lamp barely survived and the glass of water was no more.

The very next day I took Lola with me to PetSmart to get her some more food. As we were walking down the aisle, she abruptly stopped and stared at these birds. She could've been there for hours if I'd let her. She is one curious pup.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mom's Best Friend

Last week I showed you how Lola and Ryan were best of friends. But I must admit that Lola has a tendency to want to be with Mom sometimes too :)

One weekend morning, I decided to go lay down on the sofa in our fireplace room. Not more than 30 seconds passed, and I had a friend join me on the sofa. She was quite pleased with herself in how she wiggled in past my legs and up against the backrest.

And then she layed down on my leg. Bliss.

Have you seen a happier dog? Hanging on the sofa with mom lounging in the sun light, it just doesn't get better than this.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Avocado & Corn Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette


I cannot tell you how often I am checking Pinterest, because it is always. I think Dr. Suess would have described it like this:

I will pin while I walk
I will pin while I talk
I will pin on the pot
I will pin cold or hot
I will pin, yes of course I will
I will pin up or downhill
I will pin day or night
I will pin with all my might
Pinning, Pinning all day long
With Pinterest you can't go wrong

Ok, now that I've got that out...I have to share with you a recipe I made via Pinterest.

Avocado & Corn Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette. This was so yummy!!!

Not only is it healthy for you with all that vegetable goodness, it was also a snap to make. Literally from start to finish it took my 15 minutes. However I can't take credit for this goodness, that goes to the lovely blog of Authentic Suburban Gourmet.

I took a few liberties with the recipe to make mine even faster:
* I used canned corn instead of the grilled corn she recommended (but this summer, I may just tried the grilled!)
* I used only red cherry tomatoes
* And I used dried cilantro rather than fresh cilantro for the dressing

Amberly Tested, Husband Approved

Friday, February 3, 2012

Family Calendar

After grossing you all out with the pink eye story from yesterday, I figured I should play it safe with some calendar shots today. This Christmas I made family calendars for the Thomas side, every sibling and my mom and dad received one. I tried my best to make sure that the pictures inside were relevant to the month that they would occur, and I added in special dates like birthdays and anniversaries.

My sister started this tradition a few years back and because she needs to focus on baking that little baby girl, I decided to take over the calendar making. It was so fun to see/hear them all open up their calendars and look through the many pictures and many months of family love.

Even though we don't all live in the same city let alone state, we can still feel like we're together when we catch a glimpse of our calendars.

I placed mine above my computer at work...

...and Jared did the same.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pink Eye

Its the worst.

I have never had pink eye before this lovely occasion. I remember my brother, Jared having pink eye when he was younger, I think about 6 or 7. That memory sticks in my mind, because he woke up one morning and was screaming and crying. His left eye had crusted shut and he was so scared.

My parents took him to the doctor and he got some eye drops prescribed. And I'm sure as any parent knows, little kids don't like taking medicine especially medicine that goes in their eye.

I'm not quite sure where I got pink eye, but I hear that its highly contagious, so once a kid touches his eye and then the shopping cart at Target or the hand rail in the elevator, and you're the next one to touch it-- you're the lucky winner of a brand new, swollen, irritated pink eye. What does she win Ron?

Last Friday I noticed that my lymph nodes were quite swollen and my eye had started to swell. I figured it was just some allergic reaction to some new makeup I had purchased. I called my mom quick to hear about Jared's symptoms when he was younger and I called my mother-in-law (who is a nurse) to see if she thought I had pink eye too.

When I woke up the next morning with a crusty, swollen and itchy eye- I knew it had to be pink eye. yuck. Thankfully, after a quick trip to the quick care center and some eye drops later, things are getting better. Thanks to this little guy...

...oh Sulfacetamide Sodium Ophthalmic Solution how I love thee.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Man's Best Friend

a little math for you...
1 adorable puppy + the man that you love = heart melting

I caught this moment the other night while we were lounging about doing nothing in particular. Ryan was sitting on the floor and I was laying on the couch behind him. Lola came back from eating her dinner to sit right next to him. And not more than 5 seconds later, Ryan's arm was around her and they were watching basketball together. A man and his best friend.

I am so incredibly glad I had my phone on me to take this picture. It makes my heart smile every time I see it.