Thursday, December 12, 2013

This is not easy for me

I am over at my other blog today sharing a very difficult story. It is Granny's Story, the beautiful story of her passing and you can read it HERE

*Note: bring your own tissues

And for you giggle for today, here is my tip of the day!

Tip of the Day:

It is not the best idea to put your makeup on while watching RuPaul's Drag Race.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

More proof that we are crazy

Tis the season for cold and sickness, bla bla bla bla bla, bla bla bla bla *sniff *hack

I am slightly afraid I am on the verge of getting a cold as yesterday I had a scratchy throat, had no energy at all, and thought my head was going to explode at any moment. Today I am actually feeling a bit better and I'm hoping it was just due to having way too much sugar at a birthday party on Sunday. Branden and I don't really eat much sugar anymore so I think my body is experiencing a 48 hour sugar crash.

Anyhoo, since my time away from blogland, we have had a number of birthdays in the family which means more crazy birthday videos!!! Today I'm going share our nephew Brady's birthday video that we made for him back in September when he turned three. He still loves for us to sing him "Little Bunny Foo Foo" but of course with our changes of dinosaurs instead of field mice, and the good turtle instead of the good fairy. Apparently my sis tried to sing him the original version and he corrected her and made her sing our version. For his birthday, Brady wanted a Cookie Monster theme so we adjusted our song to fit his birthday. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Da Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb!

I love Christmas. I have been decorating since the beginning of November and listening to Christmas music since October. However, there is one "Christmas" thing (in quotes because I don't consider it to be legit) that is like fingernails on a chalkboard to my festive ears. The Little Drummer Boy.

I hate that little punk with his lame story line, obnoxious lyrics ("pa rum pum pum pum" are not lyrics or drum noises!), and boring melody that sound like children of the Christmas corn chanting. Lately there has been a viral video of an A Capella group singing this festive nightmare of a song, which I refuse to post for fear of inviting a drumming poltergeist to my blog, and I am the least bit impressed...and couldn't even make it to the 1 min mark. They had the same effect as rolling a cat turd in chocolate...or marmite...either way it is still gross and still poop. I suppose if I liked overly auto-tuned 90 music then it would have been palatable but it is still the Little Drummer Boy and he is still an unbiblical nuisance that should just be considered of the devil and burned at the stake.

Due to the multiple shares of this atrocity of a video, I posted this as my facebook status recently:

Dear Little Drummer Boy,

You are still obnoxious, annoying, and do I have to even mention unBiblical!?! Once again you are not invited to any part of my Christmas celebrating no matter how "amazing" some band remade you because in all seriousness, no amount of redoing could ever make you tolerable to my eardrums.


P.S. I'm pretty sure if you were real you would have made baby Jesus cry and spit up on himself.

This did create a bit of hubub from my friends and family but I suppose the real questions is, "Why on earth do you like this song???". I seriously need to know because I just don't get it. I would understand using a hedgehog for a toothbrush before I could understand the cultish following of this instrumentally challenged kid.

I would just much rather listen to this:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I'm so glad to be back...I guess

The other night, Branden and I were laying in bed talking when he managed to stumble upon the worst thing to say after a sentence, "I guess".

His full sentence went like this, "It's a good thing I never dated her...I guess".

Now because I am a loving, supportive, and open wife, I poked him in the ribs multiple times and shrieked, "YOU GUESS!!! YOU GUESS??? You better KNOW!".

He giggle out apologies and we were in a fit of laughter when it hit me, "This is the worst thing to say after a sentence," I mused, still giggling, "think about it; 'Your cooking is the best...I guess' or 'Dang you're sexy...I guess' or 'Fredrick is just a friend...I guess' there is just nothing good about saying it!"

After some more giggles, my silly, sweet husband pulled me in for his goodnight kisses, saying what we say to each other often and what was even part of our wedding vows, "I love you with all that I am and ever will be".

I kissed him back and responded with what we always say, "Forever and ever".

He smiled and rolled over to get cozy under the covers.

"I guess," I said softly and then we erupted into giggles again!

What's the worst sentence to say this after?? And can any of you think up a worse sentence?? I am open to suggestions to tease Branden horrendously with peak my curiosity.

If you weren't here yesterday then pop over to THIS POST to read what's been going on since I've been away.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Moving Forward

Goodness it's been a long time since I've been here! I will admit that I have been hiding out, not even checking emails or blog posts, but I've been taking some much needed time off. People who know me know that I write like I talk; it's part of me. Writing without emotion is not something I understand, so after all of the emotions of losing my Granny it was too painful to write again. It's still not easy some days but there is so much on the horizon that I know she would be excited about, and I think I'm feeling ready to slowly get back into blogging.

Over the past however many months I've been gone there have been lots of changes. Here's just an idea:
  • After the University said Branden had to stay for another two years to complete his PhD, he downgraded to an MPhil (a degree between a Masters and PhD) which means he'll be able to finish in three years, like he signed up for, and be officially done in April.
  • Because of this, he's applying for jobs and we are hoping to soon be out of a shared house and actually in our own place, with an actual income, and we can finally start traveling! It also looks like we will probably be moving somewhere around the Dublin area as that's where most jobs are.
  • Also because of this, we have realized that we are super excited for the freedom we will have and being just the two of us again, so we have taken having children out of our future equation. You have no idea how much of a burden left our shoulders when we decided this, as neither of us has actually had the desire to have children but rather felt like it was just an expectation.
  • Since we aren't planning on having kids now, I am feeling like I no longer have to sacrifice my body for babies so I am finally finding a reason and purpose to really take care of myself. I have been doing some really fun workouts for free on youtube and also been eating much healthier. I'll definitely be sharing some of my favorite new and amazing healthy recipes.
  • Branden went back to the States for 10 days at the beginning of the month for his brother's wedding! Our family is now complete, as all of our siblings are married now and we will be adding a bonus member in May as his brother and new sis-in-law are expecting a baby! We of course are besides ourselves with excitement over a new niece or nephew (Dear Lord, Please let it be a niece!).
These are just some of the big things that we've been going through and we are really excited about our future and where it's going. Life is pretty hectic still, but as I said before, I will most likely be slowly getting back into the blog scene, so bear with me.

And just to give you a giggle, because that's usually what most people come here for, here is a little something Branden said the other night just before we went to bed, "You know it's Christmas season when you find a cookie cutter in your bed."

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Battle is Over

On Sunday it will be two weeks of her being gone. My Granny no longer has to fight with the cancer that tourmented her wonderful life. I was able to get back in time to spend the last few days with her and to also be right by her side with my mom and aunt as she passed. It was a painful but beautiful gift and I may eventually share it, but for now I wait for things to get easier and for life to feel normal again. Branden had to stay back in Ireland and being away from him these past two weeks has not been easy at all, but he arrives on the 4th and it can't come soon enough. God has been so good to our family through all of this and I keep resting in Him while I adjust to a world without her.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Terrible Saps

Branden is going away for 5 days starting Thursday and I don't expect I'll survive. He has to go to Dublin where he will be attending and speaking at a conference for 3 days, staying the other 2 days for some much needed studying at the library at Trinity. I'm not going with him because I would only see him at night, and with my anxiety, I would just stay in the hotel until Branden came back as going out by myself would freak me out to no end...especially in such a big city. I do have great housemates though and we even got a new girl who is my age! She just moved in over the weekend but she already fits in really well and we all hung out mostly all day on Sunday. My friends are also offering to keep me occupied so maybe I'll pull through.

On Sunday we watched Britain's Got Talent since the new season has started. A dance group from Hungary came on and performed an incredible piece that is based on a true story. They danced to my favorite song from the brilliant Emeli Sande. She is an amazing artist with incredible talent. When the dance ended, Branden and I looked at each other and we were both in tears! We are such saps! It was beautiful though and you can watch it below.

Did you make it through without tearing up? I haven't even watched it a second time because I think I may be worse off than the first time! I hate to leave you on a sad note so here is one of my new favorite videos.

I know a lot of you are pet lovers so I just had to share it with you.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ick, spam!

I tend to get a lot of spammers on my blog which thankfully go to the spam inbox and rarely my normal comment inbox. This is also a good reason why I approve all of my comments as occasionally they do slip through. Recently I was looking through my spam inbox, for kicks and giggles, and found some odd ones...

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I must be quite exciting if you are stuck writing about nasal polyps! EEEWWWW, EEEWWW, EEEWWWW!! I didn't even know those were a thing! 
(Word of warning: do NOT google image search them!!!)

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First of all, I'll fire my editor (sorry Branden), secondly, most spammers shower me with over the top flattery (so I don't like you), and last and definitely not least, how in the world to you figure that breast pictures increase exercise?? ...unless you are at an all boys school and hang them in front of the treadmills maybe...??? Please don't come back again either way.

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I don't want to know what that is and I definitely don't want to help you put a photo up of it!! YIKES!!!

What ever happened to good old fashioned normal people who tried hacking your site with boring old web ads!?! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What a way to celebrate!

Before I get into all the photos from our wonderful trip to Kinsale, here are some random photos for you. Our local Nintendo graffiti artist has added to his already awesome work on a wall near our house. The wall is very tall and I would be about as tall as the top of the lower it's amazing!

One of our housemates makes the best ever carrot cake!! He has a cream cheese layer in the middle and it's so moist and tasty! Since Branden and I had birthdays 6 days apart from each other, he made us a cake! As you can tell, he tried to write "Happy Birthday" in grated carrots on the top but he ran out of space and so it actually said "Happy Birtdd"...I thought it was hilarious and awesome!

Now onto our trip to Kinsale! We had an amazing time and it was the closet thing to a spa day I've ever had. We stayed at a fantastic B&B with the friendliest couple who ran it. We had just a standard double room but it was gorgeous! Our bed was the most comfy thing I've slept in.

We had a cute little seating area in a bay window and the wardrobe had great tea making stuff in it, with cookies, coco mixes, and chocolates!

Since we don't have a bath in our room at home, we asked for a bath when we booked the room. We were very excited to see this big jacuzzi tub in our huge bathroom at the B&B! It was perfect for winding down after a bitterly cold day in Kinsale.

We also had a balcony off of our room. It had a cute little 2 person table and chairs on it, but it was too cold for us to go out there!

When we arrived at the B&B, The Old Presbytery, we got settled into our room and then we were told to go up to the dining room for some afternoon tea or coffee. They had a nice little selection of teas and then a fabulous little selection of homemade cakes! There were mini cappuccino cakes, mini raspberry cakes, lemon raspberry cake slices, and a raspberry muffin with white chocolate was amazing!!

After sampling bits of everything, we decided we should probably get real lunch and we went to a cafe recommended to us by our hosts. It was a cafe/bookstore, with bookshelves lining one wall filled with old and new books for anyone to read at their leisure or to purchase if they so wished. They had an incredible selection of teas, which we each got our own little pots of, and a wonderful chicken, avocado sandwich on incredibly tasty bread.

When we finished eating, we snooped around the cute little shops along the tiny, narrow roads. Thankfully there are lots of fun shops as the weather was almost painfully cold to be out in. Kinsale is right off the Atlantic and the wind was absolutely bitter with cold! Shopping done, we went back to our room to get warmed up and take a nap before dinner. Being out in the cold makes you quite sleepy!

Dinner was beyond anything I could have hoped for! We went to a place called Max's where the food was incredible, the server was fabulous, and the restaurant itself was very nicely decorated and cozy. I had a starter of muscles grilled in a parsley garlic butter and topped with crispy breadcrumbs. They were heavenly and the server told us how to do them at home too! Branden had a starter of red seafood chowder that was jam packed full of different white fish, salmon, and shellfish. For a main, I had medallions of Ling with a delicious sauce with sun dried tomato and herbs and a side of potatoes, and Branden had the venison with an cranberry stuffed apple and side of broccoli and red cabbage. (are you drooling yet?) Dessert was another triumph where I had the mini Bourbon creme brulee pots with almond biscuits (cookies) and Branden had the sticky toffee pudding with pear and date compote. If you ever get to Kinsale, you have to go to Max's!

After that masterpiece of food, we popped into a nearby grocery store, picked up a bottle of red wine and headed back to the B&B for the night. We just relaxed, watched Rio (loved it!), and took a bath before conking out in our most coziest of cozy beds.

The next morning we woke up to snow! It was crazy but luckily it wasn't sticking to roads, just cars, bushes, and tops of buildings. By the time we finished breakfast it had almost all melted though. Breakfast was also a culinary delight. I had a crepe filled with warm fruit and drizzled with honey. Branden had scrambled eggs and John Dory (a tasty white fish) that was buttery and delicious! We had heard that our B&B had the best breakfasts and they certainly proved themselves!

With tiny hail type snow falling, we decided to wander around the town again before catching an early bus home. We walked up the hill by our B&B to a convent that overlooked the bay.

This was the front entrance to our B&B

Pussy willows in front of St. Multose Church which was built in 1190. We couldn't get in but we have been inside a couple of months after we moved to Ireland. You can see that blog post HERE

Across the water and on that patch of land, there is an old fort. We wanted to walk to it (which was down the road a ways, then across a bridge and then up the other side) but it was snowing on us the whole time, which is why the photo is slightly hazy.

And old, derelict house that would be amazing done up!

My disbelief in the crazy weather as little tiny snow pellets pelted me.

After touring around some more, we hauled our frozen bodies to the cafe/bookstore and waited for our bus. I got some hot coco and Branden got a mocha. When we got back to Cork, it was lovely weather! Yes, it was cold as well, but the sun was out and there hadn't been any snow! We went to lunch at a Thai restaurant after popping our heads into a toy store that was the closest thing to Toys-R-Us I've seen since leaving the States. After a tasty lunch, we did some shopping before going to the cinema to see OZ the Great and Powerful. We really liked it! To finish off our night, and not quite ready to go home yet, we stopped in to an Australian themed pub that's on our way home that had half price pizzas that day. They also have good deals on pitchers of cocktails so we ordered a pitcher of Melon Madness cocktail, a yummy, meaty pizza, and a side order of fries. It was great! We walked home just as it started to snow (and thankfully didn't stick!) and made it back happy over all the fun and good food we had experienced over the short 2 days!

It was fabulous! Tomorrow we are going to Cashel and Cahir Castle for a day trip to celebrate Branden's birthday that was on Saturday. He does need to see a couple of tombs in the Rock of Cashel as part of his studies, but it's a cool tourist destination anyway and we missed it last time we did a research trip. It should be fun and we'll have more photos!

Monday, March 25, 2013

And away we go!

Branden and I are off for a couple of days to rest and relax in the picturesque village of Kinsale. We have been looking forward to this as lately we have felt a bit more like strangers as we've been so busy!  Before I go, I thought I'd leave you all with this.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A birthday wish

Warning: This post may make no sense whatsoever to any sane person.

There is something I say that just cracks Branden up and reinforces his knowledge that his wife is odd.

"I want to look like a woman."

This took me a while to explain to him what I meant by it. Ever since I was young, I would look at women on commercials and movies and look forward to the day when I would look like them. No, not their unrealistic images, edited out wrinkles, and perfect everything. I looked forward to no longer looking like a 'girl'. The women I saw on TV didn't look like their high school selves, they had just 'matured' passed that girl look into a woman that didn't look old but also didn't look like a kid. I still look a bit like my high school yearbook photos and I'm not complaining that I may look young, but I want to look like a gown up! A young grown up, but still a grown up!

Branden understands this but he also finds it utterly funny, probably because I do not have anywhere near the body of a girl and I still look young so I shouldn't complain. The other night when we were laying in bed and having one of our odd conversations, I asked him, "When I turn 29 do you think I will finally look like a woman?"

Branden giggled at me, probably because he knew I only had about a week to make the womanly transformation, "Maybe when you are 30..."

"Oh no, I'm not going to be 30 and you should be supportive of making sure I don't turn 30 as it would just be weird for you to be married to a 30 year old."

Strange how he didn't quite agree...

So I figure now that I've got less than a week to find some way to erase any traces of my past teenage looks while still looking young...I may start with the Oreos on my desk that have been staring me down all morning!

Now for something completely different, a hilarious video for you!

Poor bunny...but I still am laughing!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Me? A Poet??

Today I give you a poem inspired by my stupidity experience from which I felt like an idiot after learned a great deal. I give you my masterpiece entitled:

DUH - in Ireland, in March

I did the laundry yesterday,
in Ireland, in March

I hoped the clouds would go away,
in Ireland, in March

I hung my laundry on the line,
in Ireland, in March

With the sun and breeze, thought I'd be fine,
in Ireland, in March

I watched the weather like a hawk,
in Ireland, in March

But in fifteen minutes I had a shock,
in Ireland, in March

The rain began to fall from the sky,
in Ireland, in March

No way my laundry would get dry,
in Ireland, in March

I dashed outside, bare feet and all,
in Ireland, in March

Hammered by the rain that started to fall,
in Ireland, in March

I quickly took everything down,
in Ireland, in March

Then ran inside with a dripping frown,
in Ireland, in March

Off to the dryer, so long eco-friendly,
in Ireland, in March

I may have tried but the weather beat me,
in Ireland, in March

Monday, March 11, 2013


Tip of the Day:

In your attempt to wake up in the morning, putting your coffee in the cupboard instead of the microwave will not help your cause.

Today I don't have a music video but I have a hilarious type of video that a friend of mine got me hooked on! This was my favorite!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mucus, Divas, and Black Eyed Children

Never mention to someone that you don't get sick very often. The day after I said this, Branden and I came down with a nasty cold...oh joy! So that's where I've been all last week and it was a head cold so my head didn't work very well. My head is more clear today and I think I'm clawing out of this cold which is great as we have friends from the States coming to visit at the end of the week!

The good thing is that Netflix got all 4 seasons of Drop Dead Diva so I've been flying through them! Especially now that I saw in the news that it's been re-negotiated with Lifetime and will come back for a 5th season, which means that our Netflix may lose the seasons since Irish Netflix seems to only have shows that are dead or dying! If you haven't watched it, then you should as I love that it's fun, clean, and has a fabulous lead character who is plus-sized.

I don't like being scared AT ALL! I don't watch scary films, I'm not into scary stories, and I hate scare pranks. A couple of weeks ago, Branden's mom was talking to us on skype and mentioned the black eyed children. We had never heard of them before, and since my mom-in-law has always liked to tell tales of aliens, big foot, and other creepy creatures, she told us about some article she read on the web. When she tells stories of scary things I actually find it funny since it sometimes gets Branden and his brother all ruffled and bothered (especially big foot stories told in their sun room at night!). After we talked, I got online and looked up the black eyed children. Click HERE to see the website I read. I read a few articles on this site and then also looked around the web at other freaky tales and legends. Not a good idea considering it was night time! When I went to the bathroom I totally freaked myself out imagining some creepy kid with solid black eyes trying to see through our non-see through, warped glass window. Uncovered windows at night completely freak me out, due to something that happened as a kid, and eyes also freak me out, especially big open eyes.

When I crawled back into bed, all creeped out, I told Branden that maybe we should sleep with the side light on. He started laughing at me as he realized that I had scared myself and had become a big weenie. We watched something pleasant on Netflix to take my mind off of all the stuff I had read, but by the time I had to pee again, I was still freaked and made Branden stand in the bathroom with his back towards me, blocking the window so I wouldn't have to see anything out of it. He continued to laugh at me. When it was time to go to bed, I still hadn't calmed down so Branden's laughing and teasing turned to tickling. He rolled over and pinned me in the bed, poking at my sides while mentioning my pansy-like qualities. I was giggling when all of a sudden we heard a huge *BANG* to which I promptly screamed but also caused Branden to jump out of his skin and yell out as well! We then started to laugh again as we realized it was one of our housemates coming home and slamming the front door.

Still giggling but still a bit jumpy, I realized that Branden had jumped too! For all of his teasing me, he had genuinely freaked out just as much as I had and even managed to sucker punch me in the kidney when he jumped...thankfully not hard! I took advantage of this realization and pointed it out to him, which caused us to laugh more, and then even more when we wondered if our housemate heard our unison scream when he shut the door. Later we asked him and he said he didn't hear us, but he thought the story was funny.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

As you may have discerned from the title, I have a .com! One of our friends (the one who gave me the video from the last blog and who is also coming to visit next month!) surprised me with this a couple of days ago! I was in such amazement then it took a good hour for my jaw to come up off the floor! So you can now find me by simply looking up:

Sterling, you are the man!

On another note, I was lamenting to Branden before bed last week that I'm not looking forward to turning 29 next month. Granted it's the last age I will ever turn, just like Branden's mom and her dad (it runs in the family), but I'm still not settled with the idea of it. In Branden's effort to comfort me, he came out with, "You'll still be young, you're still only a quarter of the way through your life!"

"I don't want to live to be 116!" I wailed. We both started laughing and I told Branden he should never do math before bed!

Now the last week or so I have told some stories about my parents. Today I will give you a bit about Branden's parents. Back in the day both of his parents were models...which is why my husband is ridiculously good looking. The first time they met was on a photo shoot and it just so happened to be a photo shoot for a bridal shop! Branden's mom was the bride and his dad was the groom. They introduced his mom to his dad with, "This is the man you are going to marry". How right they were! To this day they celebrate two wedding anniversaries, the photo shoot wedding when they met and their actual wedding anniversary. They've been married over 25 years and they still get mistaken for newly-weds all the time!

My dad-in-law owns his own business and my mom-in-law posted on her facebook wall a while back (and I'm having to do this by memory since I can't find it now) "The best thing about working for my husband is all the sexual harassment from the boss!" Thankfully Branden grew up with them being like this so he thought it was just as funny as I did...which is great because our poor kids are going to have to have to get used to having frisky parents as well!

My wonderful in-laws on Valentines Day! And yes, my mom-in-law still gets carded when she buys wine!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fun in the mid 90's

I have no idea where last week went! I checked under the couch, my bed, and even in some cute animal videos on youtube, but all I found were a few stale popcorn  bits, some lone socks, and the utter bliss a cat loaded up on catnip and then taunted by a laser pointer can bring. If any of you happen to find last week, please let me know as I'd like to know what I did last Tuesday...if I can't remember then it must have been good!

After last week's reminiscing about reading with my mom (or as I call her "Ma" in a grating New York accent for reasons I have no idea why) my dad reminded me about one of our special memories. My dad was a Pepsi nut. He used to keep a can next to his bed so he could crack one open when he woke up in the morning. So when Pepsi came out with Pepsi Points back in the mid 90's, dad was excited. We collected Pepsi points like a single woman in her 70s collected cats and those creepy snow baby figurines. There were lots of different things you could buy with your points, and we got at least 2 of everything...including the Fila bike (which was 1700 points).

So how on earth did we manage to get so many points you ask? Dad's Pepsi 'addiction' helped a bit, but dad and I would also go 'hunting' for points. On the weekends we would drive around in his truck, scouring the ditches for Pepsi bottles. Since I was on the passenger side, the side of the ditch, I would usually spot them, yell, "Pepsi Point!", and then wait for dad to slow down enough for me not to break my legs when I jumped out. I'd throw the bottle in the bed of the pickup and we'd carry on down the road! Sometimes the bottles were filled with 'mysterious' yellow liquid so I had to grab carefully, but we had loads of fun driving all over, listening to Classic Rock on the radio, and searching for those coveted points.

Ok, so that may not have been the only way we collected points. I did grow up in a very small town after all, so road scouring couldn't have produced all the points we needed to get all the stuff we did. Dad made friends with the guys at the dump! With the dump's permission, they let us sift through the plastic bottle bin and cardboard bin. Dad put a long hook-like thing on the end of a long pole so we could fish out the Pepsi bottles and then we used a pocket knife to cut the label off and get the points. For the cardboard bin, Dad hoisted me inside and I sorted through the flattened boxes, cutting off any points I found. As a kid, it was a blast! Ok, I'd probably still have fun...but I'd just wear latex gloves.

Dad and I had a lot of fun. I was his hunting and fishing partner anyway, so this was just a way for us to go hunting on the off season! When I was back in the States and driving with my dad, whenever we'd see someone pulled onto the side of the road, we both say, "Pepsi Point!" and laugh.  Dad may not have a Pepsi 'addiction' anymore, but we have great memories from our Pepsi days.

Now for something completely different. A friend posted this video on his facebook page and it was too amazing not to share! These kids are incredible and beyond talented! I love this song anyway but this just made it even better. I hope you all enjoy it as much as Branden and I did.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Holy Nerd Math Batman!

Elle over at The Erratic Project Junkie actually used math and physics to come up with an answer to my guinea pig pulling cart conundrum! Please go check it out and then take 2 aspirin because your head will hurt with math pain. Oh and don't tell Branden...he might think his guess was justified (I still have my doubts!).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Quilt

When I was a kid, my mom and I liked to read Nancy Drew together. I'd crawl into dad's side of the bed, he was usually playing around in his garage or watching a movie, and we'd take turns reading chapters. On my mom's turn, I would listen along while I 'quilted'. Mom gave me leftover scraps of fabric which I kept in a bag, and when we read, I would sift through my bag and look for my next quilt square. I was just a kid and really had no idea what I was doing, so my squares were just cut out with regular scissors and hand stitched together. The squares weren't even very square or even the same size so my 'quilt' looked a bit wonky. Over a bit of time, I had a small, long rectangle that looked like a table runner made by a cat.

Eventually our reading time dwindled away and my bag of fabric and 'quilt' went into my closet where it lay hidden away with other childhood bits and bobs. One May, in my teen years, I came up with something very special. I pulled out my old fabric bag and stitched and stuffed my homely little quilt into a pillow. I'll never forget how much it meant to mom when she unwrapped it for Mother's Day. She used to sleep with it and I think she had to stop as it began to fall apart. Hopefully I can stitch it back together for her sometime and maybe we can read Nancy Drew again.

I can't wait to see my mom when we go back to Washington in June for three weeks this year.

I get a lot of my humor from my mom and this photo was one of our random outbursts of oddness. We had a kitchen duel! It's not my mom's birthday or anything, I just am blessed that our parents have pulled their money to buy us tickets to go back to America and am thinking about all the family that I won't have seen in over two years.

Monday, February 4, 2013

35 Things

I nicked this from Epic Fail's blog so if anyone else wants to take it, feel free to!


My Granny, although she is a Margaret and I'm not. I'm just a Maggie :)

A few weeks ago when I found out my wonderful childhood friend's dad had passed away. He was a great man and will be hugely missed.

No, I'm a lefty and in typical lefty fashion, have terrible handwriting.

Italian salami, grilled in the oven on toast with sliced tomato, capers, and a strong cheese then topped with rocket (US translation: arugula) when it comes out.

I wish people would stop asking me this as it's really starting to bug me that other people seem to have a problem with my husband and I liking our time together and say we are 'selfish' to not want them yet. I married him, not my future children!

Sure but I don't think we would be allowed to hang out since it would be too much sarcasm and banter for one room.

It's the only language I'm fluent in.

Yes, and they are gross and I sometimes wish they were gone but they have been 'nice' to me so I have no reason to evict them.

Not a chance in the world.

I have an odd relationship with cereal. We have a very "on again, off again" relationship. At the moment we are on a break and this is just due to me being weird and only able to eat a cereal for about a week before I'm sick of it. When I was a kid my favorite was Rice Crispy Treats cereal, which was just a bowl full of crispy sugar basically.

I only wear one pair of shoes and I have to untie them because they are hardcore walking shoes that I have to lace up to my ankles so just slipping them off isn't possible. If you would have asked me this questions 4 years ago, I would have asked you what untying your shoes meant as I only wore high heels...oh the joys of not having a car and having to walk over a mile to get everywhere...(although now I don't complain as it's great health wise!)

Parts of me are strong but isn't that how we all are? I don't think anyone is strong in every way. It took me about a year and a half to go to the grocery store by myself here so I would not consider myself strong in that aspect, but on the flip side, I am able to live halfway across the world from my family to be with the man I love, so I know I am strong that way. He does kind of make it easy to be strong that way though ;)

Coconut or cookie dough, as long as the cookie dough is in vanilla and not chocolate ice cream, as chocolate ice cream is the only flavor I don't really like...and the only form of chocolate I don't really like actually.

If they have noticed me or not. I like to lay low in groups of people I don't know or in public, so I observe people to make sure they haven't observed me. Standing out in a crowd would be mortifying to me, even if it was for a good reason.

Red as I'm not a massive pink person. Plus Branden likes me in red.

Funny you should ask as this has changed recently. Since high school, I have had major issues with my body, nose, hair, whatever. Throw in some not so great past relationships that vocally emphasized their dislikes as well, and it had created a mind that wouldn't even really believe my own husband when he said he liked everything the way it was. The voices that would contradict his praises have recently stopped and I actually like all of me now! It is a breakthrough and even though I'm not a small sized girl, or 'skinny', I actually really like every part of my body! I have been dropping inches (and thus probably losing weight but I don't own a scale) which is fine but I also don't want to lose what I have and love now. So as to the question, even with my personality quirks, anxiety, depression included, I don't think I have a least favorite thing. I like me.

It's been almost 2 years since I've seen family so I am missing all of them. If I had to choose though, I would have to say our nephews. Of course our parents miss us and we miss them, but they expect us to go away and build our own life for ourselves. Our nephews are at the start of life, learning all sorts of new fun things, and it's hard to miss a lot of it. Without skype it would be extremely difficult. We make our videos for them to give them something they can have all of their lives so they can remember how much we love them and miss them. We can't play with them and be with them in person so we try to achieve that in the videos and when we are on skype with them.

My knife and fork cutting technique is actually really sad. I'm a lefty and I grew up in a righty house. It's hard to learn from people who use a different hand for everything so my cutting skills are weird and I often switch my cutlery between both hands all the time. It's particularly bad with steak, and if we are at home Branden often cuts it for me.

Flesh colored...I'm barefoot.

A Cadbury chocolate chip brunch bar as that is my breakfast now in replacement of cereal. Only 155 calories and I get to have chocolate for breakfast every morning while still losing inches.

Branden's playing on his Ukelele. We bought it while on our honeymoon and it was the first instrument we brought with us when we first moved to Scotland after our wedding. I love that thing.

Cornflower blue. It has always been my favorite crayon color even though my favorite general color is green.

Lilacs, Branden's hair, Christmas, and bakeries

I suppose important, but I don't consider myself to be very political in the first place. I've lived in 3 very different countries so my thoughts on US politics have changed a lot since looking at it from different eyes and a couple of different perspectives. I think this has taught me ultimately that it's ok to not be so set politically as I grow and change because my views need to grow and change with me.

This is a tough one as I have issues with both. A mountain hideaway makes me think "spiders!" where as a beach house makes me think of how crazy I go having the ocean waves making non-stop noise and I just want to finally shout at the tide "Shut UP!" so I can have a moment of quiet in my head. I'm going to make up my own choice then and say a house on a nice hill up from the beach, enough to have a great sea view but without the constant noise. Don't get me wrong, I like the sound of the tide, but only for so long.

Formula 1, rally car racing, and motocross.

I've heard it called anything from "mousey brown" to "dirty blonde". You can take your pick. I don't dye it either (obviously)

light blue


See: Hair color, eye color, and contacts.

Cheese and chocolate. Especially when you wash both down with wine.

Happy Endings! I hate scary movies and don't even do well with basic suspense movies.

In what country?? They are practically the same in Ireland! I'd go with summer as it was my favorite back in the States.

"God Calling" by 2 anonymous women written ages ago. A dear friend of mine in my church and volunteer group gave it to me as I've been going through all the struggles with my Granny's cancer and being far away. It's a great little book of daily 'devotions' which are basically like little notes from God to help you through difficult times. I like it because it doesn't try to say you can't be depressed or struggling emotionally, it just meets you where you are, just like God does with me all the time.

Emo Rock...not to be confused with "Elmo Rock" as that would be ridiculous.

Technically Amsterdam, but that was only layovers in the airport, so Inverness, Scotland would be the furthest of places traveled to if we consider where I grew up in the States as "home".

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tip of The Day - crazy theory addition

Tip of the Day:

When having a serious discussion as to how many guinea pigs it would take to pull a person in a cart, don't tell me '11' and not expect me to laugh and then look at you like you are crazy.

Note: Our current estimation is 40, based on theorizing how many it would take to pull a 5lb cat and then working up from there. Please let me know if you can come up with something more solid.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Paperwork makes my brain go numb

Due to Branden finishing another chapter for his PhD, he's had time off so I have been MIA enjoying time with him and also ripping my hair out as we are messing with nasty paperwork and this year's funding for his studies. We also had a deep clean and thorough re-organization of our room which was much needed when all of our belongings and newly accumulated stuff has to all fit into one living space. It does make it easier to not buy new crap as there is simply no space, so that's a good thing. In between the chaos, the house has filled up again with our housemate from Botswana back from his Christmas trip, and a new housemate moving in who also happens to be a friend of ours and also an American. I cooked a big dinner last week of pork spare ribs (in Branden's own BBQ sauce) and then had sides of green salad, coleslaw, and focaccia bread (I didn't make the bread). It was great and it's nice that we can all get on so well. Another thing we've been up to is the making of another family birthday video!

My wonderful Mom-in-law turned 29 again this year (can't believe we'll be the same age in a couple of months!) and she is an artist so we made a very odd but somewhat artsy video for her. It's not the most flattering video, and it was very uncomfortable to shoot, but we had fun!

Thankfully none of our housemates were home as we shot this on our entryway floor and taped our video camera to the staircase rail. There was more detail at the bottom but with limited space and an unseen post that was in the way, you can't really see it. I did get the idea from that mom who would take photos of her sleeping baby after creating scenes around her with clothes, toys, and other random is definitely much harder to make it for 2 full grown adults!

Well, I have a load of clean laundry staring at me and smirking as it knows very well that I hate folding laundry...but I've got to leave soon so I better tackle the pile! (Oh goodie, socks! favorite...)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Me So Stupid

Over the past week, Branden has been trying to convince me to consider going to a concert for our wedding anniversary this year. I love a good concert and my favorite so far, besides the one Branden's band played at and proposed to me during the set, was the Mika concert we went to in Edinburgh. There are lots of artists that would be wonderfully romantic to go see on our anniversary but the one Branden has been trying to persuade me to go to is nowhere near my top 1000 list. I had to finally say it out loud to him for him to really let it sink in.

"Spending a romantic evening celebrating 4 years of wedded bliss does not include ZZ Top!"

My husband is the only facial haired man I want to look at on our anniversary, not a whole band worth of furry beasts. One night when we were in bed and Branden was still trying to entice me to spend our day with him and ZZ Top, I finally asked him what I should have asked at the start of this madness.

"Ok, if you are such a ZZ Top fan, what songs do they sing?" I pinned him.

"Well, they do that 'Give me all your lovin' song that you know," he came back quickly.

"...and???" I knew I had him because it was almost 1am and he was sleepy.

"Uh, well I could play some of them on guitar," and then he tried humming something that he realized wasn't right but kept trying to defend his cause, "There are other songs that you would know but I can't think of any right now."

I was laughing, tired, and in the rare moment that my husband's brain was just not able to remember something basic, I just came out with the typical response to this situation, "Oh Mags!"

After realizing that my automatic response to my husband's mindless response was to call him myself, we could not stop laughing in disbelief that I actually did that! I think we both lost our arguments but I got Branden to admit that he probably is just so desperate to go to a concert since it's been so long since the last one.

Now for something completely different. Christmas Eve was our night to be together, just the two of us and to eat whatever we wanted...isn't that what holidays are for?? For Christmas Eve dessert, I got my idea from watching Nigella on BBC a few weeks back. She called it 'homemade gelato' but we called it 'the best thing that has ever hit our tastebuds' and it was one of the easiest things I've ever made!


Double cream (I never remember seeing it in the States but I've heard you can get it...if you can't, it's worth moving countries just to have it!)
Meringue cookies or nests
A chocolate bar (we used dark which I would recommend)
Spiced Rum (or you could use coffee liqueur but the spiced rum was so tasty!)

How to make it:

Whip your double cream until it's firm but soft. I had a small container of double cream, probably the equivalent of 1 cup of the liquid. Grate or slice shavings of a bit of your chocolate bar and fold in to your double cream. Just add however much you want. Take two handfuls of meringue cookies or two meringue nests and crush them like the Hulk into your mixture then fold in. Also fold in 2 tablespoons of Rum which Nigella only said 1 Tbs but you can hardly taste 2 Tbs although it's a nice balance and you could add more if you want the flavor to stand out more. At this point, you will have to use extreme restraint in not just eating this with spoons, but trust me, the frozen version is even better!

We just took a medium square tupperware container, lined it with cling film (leaving extra hanging over the sides to cover the top of the mixture) and then spooned the mix in, spreading it well into the corners and flattening the top. Fold the extra cling film over the top, put the tupperware lid on and pop the whole thing in the freezer overnight! When it's frozen through, just pop the whole thing out onto a plate, unwrap it from the cling film, and slice! The consistency is wonderful and there are no ice crystal bits like typical 'non-icecream icecream'. We loved it so much that we ate it for lunch on Christmas day.

You can see the white meringue bits which added a great texture and the chocolate scattered about for every bit tasting like we had died and gone to blissful creamy heaven! If you want an easy dessert with show stopping flavor, this is the way to go! And I think our 4 mile New Year's Day walk yesterday worked off at least 2 mouthfuls!

*Bonus points to anyone who realized that the title of this post is a ZZ Top song.

Bonus points can be redeemed by yourself at anytime by simply hi-fiving yourself obnoxiously in a public place