Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Swamp People…love it.

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Maybe it’s the fact that the show reminds me of my grad school days at LSU.  Down on the bayou.  Drinking Abita Amber beer and warding off bugs the size of Midwestern rodents.  Eating critters that my family back in Illinois referred to as bait. (Crawdads vs. Crawfish…who knows.)

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Maybe it’s the ultra serious and multiple advisory warnings that follow a little history lesson at the start of each episode.

HISTORY:

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WARNING!! 

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WARNING!! 

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Or how they always segway to commercial with this haunting image…

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Or maybe it’s the giggle effect the show’s subtitles has on me.  English subtitles for people SPEAKING ENGLISH.  Or a least a crude version of it.  Bahahahahaha.  Doesn’t take much.

Think I’m joking?  Check this video out at around the 17 minute mark.

Either way and for whatever reason, I just LOVE this show.  Love love LOVE IT!

And all joking aside, these guys have one hard freakin’ job.  I wouldn’t want to swap positions with them.  No way. No how.  Thank you Swamp People for making your area safer and filling the void in my life now that Jersey Shore is over.  Don’t judge people.  Had to share. 

And……I’m out.  Happy Tuesday.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

I Want to Rock!: Mother/Son Dance

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My big boy and I rocked out at his elementary school’s annual Mother/Son Dance.  This years theme was Rock-n-Roll…complete with backstage passes…

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and funky stage make-up. 

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I had to convince him that wearing make-up and being part of the “Kiss Army” was indeed VERY cool.  He went along, but you could see the “I don’t know about this one” look all over his face.

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I couldn’t find any Kiss T’s…or at least not any that were reasonably priced, so I decided to make them.   Those iron on transfer sheets worked GREAT!

I didn’t want to look like the crazy shutterbug mama at the dance, so I brought along my old point-n-shoot.  I forgot how much I don’t like that thing.  Grrrr.  At least I got to capture moments like this though…

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He won a little trophy for “Best Dressed Boy” and so I guess donning eye liner was worth it in the end.  Such a good sport. 

They also had a photo booth set up.  We played along…

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A great night with my big boy that’s growing up WAY too fast!  At one point in the evening, he was doing the “freeze dance” and I was watching him.  He stops, comes over to me and says in his biggest most grown up 7 year old voice:

“Mom…RE-lax.  Go sit down.  Hang with your friends.  Have fun.  I’m a GROWN man now!”

WHA???????  Oh, brother!

Love you Lanham!

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You Capture: Spring

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Finally!  I’ve returned to You Capture!  And what a great week to get out there an shoot…well, at least the beginning of the week was mildly Springish anyway. 

My magnolia put on its annual show…

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I never tire of its beauty.

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It means that warm weather is on the way…hopefully SOON!

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Sadly, this beautiful display will once again be blown away in a flash.  Boo.

I also tried to snap a few shots of one of our other budding bushes and thought it turned out pretty neat despite my lack of a macro lens.

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Trying to capture the new spring buds really made me get down and appreciate all that is coming back to life this season.  Have a blessed Easter!

For more Spring fun:

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Skillet Chicken Parmesan

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Here’s a version of a classic dish that I’ve tried to make slightly healthier by omitting the breaded and fried chicken.  To purists, this may not fit the bill, but for me and the hubs the flavors hit the spot.  And again, that melty cheese thing…YUM!
Skillet Chicken Parmesan (printable)
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (a little over 1 lb. total)
  • Italian seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Marinara sauce, 3-4 cups or one jar (I made it from scratch, but have used a jarred in the past as well)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lb. thin spaghetti, cooked and drained
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Sprinkle both sides of each chicken breast with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Cover and place back in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat.  Cook chicken breast in skillet for 10 minutes, turning once, until brown on both sides.
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Move chicken to a plate.  Pour marinara into the skillet and warm over medium heat.  Add chicken breasts back to the sauce, turning to coat on both sides.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 more minutes.
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Remove lid and sprinkle each chicken breast with the shredded cheese.  Replace lid and let cheese melt.
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Serve immediately over prepared spaghetti.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
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As I always mention, you can make this recipe and many others even healthier by using reduced fat cheese and whole wheat pasta.  Actually, one of the reasons I make my marinara from scratch is that I can control what goes in it.  I hope to post my marinara recipe soon.
Quick, simple and middle of the week dinner worthy.  Add a little bread, a veg to the side and you’re set!
blog end   
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring Has Arrived: Baseball & a Farmer’s Tan

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We headed out to our first “practice game” yesterday around noonish.  Derek said it was only supposed to last about an hour and a half.   Lanham and I took time for a few funny photos before the game.  It was the only way I could get the decent smile shot above.  I indulged.  He delivered.  Love that kid.

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So, we drove separately and D actually called me and told me to bring a jacket.  I got there and promptly removed my jacket.  The sun popped out and burned off all the clouds.  The game actually lasted over two hours and I ended up with the most prominent farmer’s tan of my life.

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Sun in April in Chicagoland?  Huh? 

It has slightly faded today, but my arm is still hot.  Welcome back warm weather.  We’ve missed you…and I won’t forget the sunscreen next time.

Random brain spark…remember this song? 

They played it over and over the summer I graduated college.  Ok…sorry about that.  Sometime I let the brain speak even in all of the randomness. 

Hope you’re enjoying some warm weather wherever you may be this weekend! We’re supposedly hitting the 80’s today.  I’ll take it.  Watch out neighbors…the white legs may blind you!\image

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

W.O.W.! An entire group of fun gals?? Amazing.

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I’ve never been a girls girl.  I never flocked to malls in large groups in high school.  I’m not into high heels and hair bows.  Not that any of those things are bad…its just never been me.  I’ve often found hanging out with women in large groups to be a struggle and that those gatherings often end in catty gossip and explosive arguments.  Kind of a deterrent.  

Now don’t get me wrong, I DO have some really great gal pals.  However, each of those friends are separate individual relationships that I’ve made over time.  Not one big ol’ gaggle of gals.  These long term friends have met each other, but only because I put them together. 

I usually shy away from invites to things that are girls only…but for once, I’m glad I replied “YES” to a recent string of activities.

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The lady to thank for my change of heart in the gal pal department is my good friend and neighbor, Katie.  She’s the one I’ve often mentioned making adorable treats for us at every holiday.  I also take pictures of her cute little girls now and again. 

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She’s attended a ‘hood weekly play group over the last few years and gotten to know several of the local ladies.  She first invited us all to her house, husbands and kids included, before last Thanksgiving for a kiddo ornament exchange.

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So CUTE!  We all had a great time and decided maybe we should get this fine group of ladies together for a mom’s only night.  I hesitated.  Then again, the ornament party was a lot of fun and everyone seemed semi-normal.  hee hee.  I mean no claws or anything kind of normal.

Katie again invited us all to a night of fondue and adult beverages…which is uber enticing for a group of moms to toddlers…two of them even have newborns plus toddlers. 

The deal was simple:  Katie provided some drinks and a fountain of chocolate (yes, like at a wedding!) and we brought the dippers…and more beverages…like this one:

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Rachel you make me LAUGH!

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Yep…that sure started the night off right.  Of course, the flowing chocolate lava was delightful as well!  However, I drank a little too much of the above and maybe a little of this…

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…because a gal has to watch her figure, of course!  And unfortunately ended up with a picture of the chocolate lava, looking not so lava-ish…

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I assure you that there was indeed pretty flowing chocolate in the above contraption for quite a long while that evening.  I was just slacking in my photography duties.

But then again, I somehow captured my hair stylist like this:

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Arrrrrr…she’s a pirate with an iphone.

And I had several pictures of conversation hearts…

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For some reason, they were VERY photo worthy to me that night and I have an entire montage devoted to them which I’ll spare you all from viewing.  FYI, this first gathering occurred around  Valentine’s Day.

So, Katie dubbed the group W.O.W. which stands for the “Women of W.”, the last “W” standing for the name of our subdivision.  It stuck.  And now we’ve added a “N'” to the end of it making the the “W.O.W.N.” group because the above hair stylist and friend of ours doesn’t live in our ‘hood, but we all love her…and her name is Nina. 

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She was escaping a little early.

The Women of W, plus Nina.  So catchy we should be in advertising. 

Our first group shot.

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I’ll jump in for one too…

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I tell you I’m blown away about how much I love this group of ladies.  We have since gotten together a few more times and had an absolute blast.  They have completely changed my attitude about female relationships.Each time we get together, I constantly (annoyingly?) comment on how amazing this all is and several of them feel the same way. 

Sally (in the white cardigan above) said it best…we are all strong talented women with very honest and open personalities.  Sometimes the truth hurts, but luckily this group can handle most of what any of us dish out and that is SO refreshing…and fun…and snort-laugh inducing.

I hope to share more fun times and adventures that I experience with the WOWN ladies.  They have not only been a blast to hang with, but also were VERY supportive during my latest family crisis. 

So readers, I’d love to hearif you’ve have several bad and then good experiences with female relationships.  Or am I all alone here and sound like the cattiest of cats around?  Say it ain’t so!

THANKS TO THE WOWN GALS!  I love you!!!

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