Christmas is Over

Pica decided to "help" us by taking down the Christmas tree herself...on Christmas day...while we weren't home.

Yaaaaaay.

Thank you, Pica!

(And, in case you're wondering, our Jack Russell Terrier is exactly why there were no ornaments on the tree.)

Merry Xmas Weekend!


The Not "Baaad" Sundays blog hop will be back next weekend. For now, kick back and relax during the looong weekend (for me, at least. There are no patients at our office until January 8th!)

Expecting a bit more from this post? The gingerbread marshmallows I made for Christmas taste AMAZING dropped into a hot cup of coffee. Have you made them yet?

Merry Xmas from Kitty and Sexy Nerd!

We decorated the chalkboard door.



I made a batch of Joy the Baker's gingerbread marshmallows to take to Sexy Nerd's grandma's house.


I was worried that the homemade marshmallows wouldn't come out of the dish, but...ta da!

 (so yummy!)

Sexy Nerd also baked up some dinner rolls and a baguette with herbs.

He's fancy like that.


My parents are spending Christmas with my family in Tucson and we're watching their dog for them. Britney will not let me take a photo of her.

Look over here, Britney.

Over here!!

Biscuit understands how to take a good photo, but Pica is stubborn like you-know-who.

Over here, Pica!

 Hopeless.

Merry Christmas!

An Alarming Experience

I use my Nexus 7 as my alarm clock. This morning, I woke up before it went off.

The screen said 9:32 (I have to be at work by 9!)

It was actually only 6:32.

There's nothing that starts your day quite like a small heart attack.

Blog Hop/Link Up Party


Any snow where you are?

Sexy Nerd's "Vacation" Photos

Anyone want to guess where Sexy Nerd went on his business trip?


Yes, those are SHARKS!

Sexy Nerd wears his "finger shoes" everywhere (much to my embarrassment).

Ooh, that is some scary vegetation.




So many people have stayed in this room...and no one has bothered to peel the stickers off the TV.

Haven't figured out where Sexy Nerd went? This photo is a bit of a dead giveaway.

 

He even got to ride in a helicopter! I'd be jealous, but it sounds terrifying.


Just your average business trip.

Digital Scrapbooking - Wedding Album

Molii Gardens at Kualoa Ranch

This January 10th = 10 years since our 1st date!

They were fancy.

Escape is futile, Sexy Nerd!


Just a small wedding with a handful of close friends and family

Instead of a traditional wedding ceremony, we had our guests walk "down the aisle" (a winding staircase) to us, where each received a lei.

The coconut cake from Ted's Bakery on Oahu made the perfect wedding cake. We were even able to have it again when we stopped in Hawaii last year on our way to Australia.

Time for a Blog Hop


Anyone get the entire holiday week off?

DIY Pottery Barn Chairs

I recently acquired some fabric from Wholeport.com. Remember my repainted Ashley Furniture dining chairs? You know, the ones I blogged about almost 4 years ago (!!!) with the intention of replacing the fabric (4 years ago)? It's finally time.

The original fabric, all stained and faded and pilled and yucky.

 
Pica does not approve.

Last year, I found some beautiful Pottery Barn cushions on clearance. They were perfect for our living room.


Fancy!
(Just ignore the dog hair. There really is no stopping Pica. When she gets excited, which is ALL THE TIME, the hair just explodes from her body.)

Since our dining room and living room are side-by-side, I wanted to recover our dining chairs with fabric that would complement the Pottery Barn pillows. But it's not like I could just order matching fabric from them. Have you seen their prices? They charge $8.50 for sand!

Luckily, Wholeport had exactly what I've been looking for.

Living room cushions and soon-to-be dining room fabric, together at last.

(In case you're wondering, the smaller cushions are from OneKingsLane and I love them. When you sign up, you get $15 off your first purchase!)

 It's going to look nice, right?

Next up, the stools for the kitchen island!

Blog Hop! Link Up! Yippee!!!


Have a fun weekend, everyone!



Slow Cooker Apple Cider Recipe

(Yep, it's another Nanowrimo repeat today. Enjoy!)

I loooove hot apple cider! It's so easy to make and it seems fancy if you serve it to company. This is wonderful to drink in cold weather, which makes it perfect in our house, which I keep at a brisk 60 degrees during the winter (Sexy Nerd loves 60 degrees - our agreement used to be 50!) I make this every time Sexy Nerd puts up our Christmas lights.

He's starting early this year. It seems a bit unfair to Thanksgiving, but here we are.


Our $5 Crock Pot is working hard!

LambAround's Best Hot Apple Cider Recipe (approximately 8 servings)
  1. Make a simple syrup by bringing 1/8 C water and a 1/4 C sugar to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and add 1/8 tsp each of allspice, cinnamon, and ginger. Whisk well and let simmer for 5 minutes before removing from heat.
  2. In a separate pan, bring the following to a boil: 2 C water, 1 can frozen apple juice, 1 cinnamon stick, 9 allspice berries, 9 whole cloves, 1 sliced apple, and the zest of 1 small orange. Add 1/2 of your simple syrup and whisk well.
  3. Transfer your mixture from step #2 to a 2.5 quart slow cooker/Crock Pot set to low heat. Fill to the top with hot water. I usually let everything sit in the slow cooker for at least an hour to let the flavor develop, but it's great right away as well.
You'll want to add more syrup and/or water based on your own preference. Sexy Nerd likes the recipe exactly as written, but I like to fill my mug with 1/2 apple cider and 1/2 hot water because it's a little strong for my taste. It's easy to ladle out helpings that are only liquid, but when serving the last remaining cups, I pour this through a strainer so no one ends up with a mouthful of cloves or allspice berries!

Blog Hop for Friends, Fun, and (Bloggy) Celebrity Status

We're just a day away from seeing David Sedaris at Popejoy Hall! YIPPEE!!

Also, you know that novel I've been diligently chipping away at? The one I've been neglecting this blog for? The novel that's been keeping me awake at night, constantly churning away in the background of every little activity in my life? Yeah, that one. It's had a major development snafu. The ending is now the beginning, which means everything I've written leading up to the old ending (everything) is no longer any good and I no longer know how to end my story. Yaaaaaay!


Welcome to another Not "Baaad" (get it?) Sundays link up. There are 2 things that make this blog hop special:

1. This Linky is open to all posts that you are proud of. Did you recently post about a great decorating project, craft, or recipe? That's wonderful if you did, but just fine if you didn't.

2. Do you ever find yourself trying not to duplicate posts on blog hops but aren't quite sure what you posted the previous weeks? Problem solved! The Linky from today will return in the future and will bring many of today's links with it (not all of them, or it would start out with thousands of links every week!), making it easier to see what you've posted (and giving you a 2nd chance to visit any great posts you may have missed!)

I do ask that you link directly to your post and include a photo from that post, not just your blog logo. And if you could post my Not "Baaad" Sundays button or at least a link with your post, I'll love you forever! Link up, then get out there and mingle! Don't forget to tell people that you found them through LambAround. That cute lil' lamb button above would look so nice on your site (pretty please?)

Have a terrific weekend, everyone!

Best Travel Site

I'm not supposed to be blogging right now, (that novel isn't going to write itself, after all) but I wanted to quickly share my favorite travel site. Have you tried the Google flight finding tool? I've loved it for a while, but only recently noticed this feature:

THANK YOU, GOOGLE!!!

Is that the coolest thing you've ever seen? The Google flight homepage automatically puts in my location (Albuquerque) and shows me everywhere in the entire world I can fly to, with the total cost of my roundtrip (or one way) airfare. The prices above are my options for ditching work today and hopping on a plane. Who'd have thought a last minute fare to Vegas could be so low?

Then again, if I call in today, who else will help all the crazy parents who visit our office? It wouldn't be right.

Frozen (and NOT the Charming Disney Kind)


I am a thrifty person. Not cheap, just thrifty. Okay, maybe it would be accurate to say that I'm up along the very border of cheap. Only my toes are over the line. Today I would like to share a story from my college years, when I was working as a Pizza Hut manager, about one of the many times trying to save a few dollars has put me in a stupid situation.

I had a coupon for a free car wash. The regular price was $4.99, so without the coupon there was no way I would ever be getting my car cleaned. My car wasn’t dirty enough to justify using the coupon, so I continued to put off using it until the day before it expired. Although it was the middle of January, I took my Alero through the automatic car wash after leaving work, shortly before midnight. It was the last day before the specials changed at the grocery store, so after the thorough washing, I decided to drive next door to do a little grocery shopping before going home. I zipped inside right before the store closed and came out about 15 minutes later with a basket full of bargains. I had a little trouble getting my trunk to open, but didn’t really think anything of it. Then, I went to open my car door.

The driver’s side door was frozen shut! So was the passenger door! After working such a long shift, (my usual day started at 6am and ended close to midnight without any breaks) my mind had been too sleepy to ever say Hey! What happens when you pour water on something and stick it in the freezer, stupid? Okay, to be honest, I probably would have made this mistake even without working that day. After all, my $4.99 coupon was going to expire!

I hadn’t met my Sexy Nerd yet so I had no one to call for help. It really wouldn’t have mattered though, as I was too much of a penny-pincher to have a cell phone (if Sexy Nerd hadn’t insisted on getting me one after another stranded/dangerous situation incident, I still wouldn’t have a one.) So, what did I do? It was after midnight, with no one around except three homeless men, (the grocery stores in the bad parts of town always have the best prices!) 

I climbed into the trunk, pulled the little strap to unlock the back seat, pushed the back seat down with my legs, climbed over the back seat, wiggled my way over the tiny center console into the front seat, shoved the frozen front door open, went back around to close the trunk, hopped back in and was on my merry way.

 Me being so cool (and so smart!) in my college apartment.

Sexy Nerd would like to add to the above photo that my apartment reeked from my guinea pig, Mr. Ducky.

What’s the wackiest thing you’ve ever done to save money? I want your tips!
 Today's post is a blast-from-the-past (less affectionately known as a rerun) because I'm taking the Nanowrimo challenge and am 100% dedicated to finishing the 1st draft of my novel this month. Stop distracting me! You know, because I would totally be writing a chapter right now if I weren't posting this on my blog...not researching an Albuquerque to Tucson to California to Las Vegas road trip, obviously. And I really should be getting my Christmas cards out soon...

Blog Hop/Linky Party


There's no time for chit chat today. I'm actually working on my novel! It's the same one I've been "working on" for the last decade or so - I never work on this thing. Soon I'll be 30 though, and I just can't bear the thought of having it nowhere near finished on my next birthday (notice I didn't say "the thought of not having it finished". I'm realistic.)

My brain wants to focus on every single thing except writing, like playing Candy Crush, watching the cars in front of my house run the stop sign (grrr!), and refilling my cup of tea for a third time. Maybe some Ritalin would help. How do you get Ritalin??

Have a great weekend and a fun Halloween!

Pumpkin Spice Latte (for LAZY People)

Have you noticed every blog has posted a Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte copycat recipe lately? This one is different. I promise! It's so good that I've been making a regular one with my breakfast each day and another decaf pumpkin latte every evening. At work, I shared the recipe with two patients last week!

When those pumpkin latte recipes started popping up, I couldn't wait to try them. They all had the same problem though - too much time and effort. Ummm, I want a pumpkin spice latte recipe that I can actually pull off before work in the morning, when my brain is still mostly asleep. Have you seen what some of these other recipe creators expect you to do? Boil down 3 cups of sugar until you have a simple (yeah right) syrup, shave fresh cinnamon from the stick you got from the farmer's market this morning, and have a unicorn spit into the mixture.

Who has time for all that?


Easy Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe (for LAZY people!)
   Serves 2

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup milk (I use 2%)
  • 3 tablespoons canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I use homemade vanilla, which I highly recommend for all your vanilla needs. It's so good! It's also about 99% vodka.)
  • 1 tablespoon caramel syrup (I use Torani. If you don't have this, white and/or brown sugar works too.) 
  • 3 cups strong coffee
  • pumpkin pie spice
Directions

Blend everything except the coffee and pumpkin pie spice in the blender. If you have a Vitamix, Blendtec, or other high power blender, you can just let the mixture whirl away until it heats itself (about 2 minutes in my Vitamix). If not, you can pop it into the microwave briefly, or just leave it as is. It's not very much and won't cool your piping hot coffee more than a couple of degrees. Divide the pumpkin mixture between 2 large mugs. Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice. Add coffee to each mug.

Yum!

If you're feeling especially fancy, you can top this with whipped cream or sweetened, frothed milk. Ooh, and chocolate shavings! No unicorn spit though.

And don't make the same mistake I did. For my first batch, I thought I'd skimp on the sugar/caramel syrup to save calories. Pumpkin Spice Lattes need to be sweet! It's like the difference between making a scrumptious pumpkin pie and a big ol' healthy pile of steamed pumpkin.
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