Friday, December 30, 2011

101 in 1001

In the spirit of the new year, I thought I'd make a 101 goals in 1001 days list.  I figure 1001 days sounds a lot better than 365, and maybe I can actually get through some of them.

The Challenge:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined.  Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (represent some amount of work on your part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple challenges such as New Year's resolutions or a "Bucket List".  The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic.  1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several season to complete the tasks, which is better for organizing and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities.

Start date: December 30, 2011
End date:  September 26, 2014

So, without further ado, here they are!

1.  Work out 3 times a week for a month (0/12)
2.    Train for a half marathon
3.    Run a half marathon
4.    Train for a marathon
5.    Run a marathon
6.    Run 5 5k races (0/5)
7.    Floss every night for a month (0/31)
8.    Get a massage
9.    Weigh 125 pounds
10. Give up soda for a month
11.  Drink 64 oz of water every day for a month (0/31)
12. Do 100 sit-ups a day for a month (0/31)
13. Complete the 100 push ups challenge
14. Don't eat fast food for a month
15. Take a vitamin every day for a month (0/31)
16. Get LASIK eye surgery

17. Have a game night with PB
18. Throw a baby shower for someone else
19. Do something nice for PB every day for a week (0/7)
20. Complete The Love Dare
21. Make someone a birthday cake

22. Clean out all of the clothes I no longer wear
23. Clean out all of the living room storage furniture
24. Replace the kitchen floor
25. Replace the bathroom floor in the master bath
26. Replace the bathroom floor in the guest bath
27. Clean out and organize the garage
28. Plant a garden
29. Build a patio/firepit area
30. Hang wedding photos in our living room
31. Donate to the Habitat for Humanity store (TV, light fixture, etc.)
32. Clean out and organize bathroom linen closet
33. Clean out and organize guest bedroom closet
34. Clean out and organize hall linen closet
35. Plant more flower bulbs in the yard
36. Put a new light fixture over the dining table
37. Plant spring flowers
38. Sell 5 things on eBay (0/5)
39. Fix paint in the master bath 
40. Do one load of laundry per day for a month (0/31)

41. Get my Master's Degree
42. Research and enroll in a program to get my principal's license
43. Pass the bar exam
44. Get a SCUBA diving certification
45. Be able to consistently get up on one slalom ski

46. Go camping
47. Go to Las Vegas
48. Go to a show at the Blumenthal
49. Rent a beach house for a week with friends
50. Go skiing
51. Stay at a bed and breakfast
52. Go to five local restaurants I've never been to (1/5) - Martino's Pizza, 12/30/11
53. Ride all of the roller coasters at Carowinds
54. Visit the National Whitewater Center
55. Eat somewhere special for Charlotte Restaurant Week
56. Ride a bike from here to the beach
57. Go sledding
58. Carve a pumpkin for Halloween 
59. Spend a night at the Tree House Winery
60. Attend a UNC basketball game
61. Attend a UNC football game
62. Eat oysters at Big Daddy's
63. Roast marshmallows and hot dogs in the backyard
64. Go snow tubing
65. Go zip-lining
66. Visit 3 destinations I've never been to (0/3)
67. Visit the Biltmore House at Christmas
68. Drive to look at Christmas lights
69. Go to the County Fair and ride the swings
70. Take another cruise
71. Take the weenies to the Dog Bar

72. Put $1,000 in a 48 month CD and leave it alone until maturity
73. Make every Christmas gift that I give
74. Try 15 new recipes (0/15)
75. Successfully complete NaBloPoMo
76. Don't swear for a week
77. Take a new Christmas card photo each year
78. Make a scrapbook of all of our wedding paper (invitations, etc.)
79. Get a summer job to make extra savings
80. Bake a cheesecake
81. Buy 5 more Brighton charms for my charm bracelet (0/5)
82. Buy a One-Line-A-Day journal and fill it in every day
83. Make a will
84. Try three different Pioneer Woman Recipes (1/3)  - Hoppin' John, 1/1/12
85. Go to church every week for a month (0/4)
86. Blog once a month about my progress on the list
87. Start a Christmas tradition
88. Organize my file cabinet at work
89. Read 100 books (0/100)
90. Read the entire Bible
91. Save $10 for every task on the 101 list completed
92. Make double house payments 20 times (0/20)
93. Make homemade weenie dog treats 
94. Clean out my car 10 times (0/10)
95. Get another wedding band to wear on the other side of my engagement ring

96. Donate blood 3 times (0/3)
97. Adopt a child from the Salvation Army Angel Tree
98. Make 10 healing shawls for church (0/10)
99. Participate in Impact Day at church
100.  Make 5 loans to Kiva (1/5)
101. Give $1 to charity for every task not complete at the end of the 1001 days

2011: The Super-Duper-Long Highlight Reel.

Hard to believe that 2011 is almost over.  Time is flying lately, and I think that and the fact that I am wearing wiener dog bedroom shoes and ate at the fish camp last night all mean that I'm an old lady.  But I wanted to look back through what's happened in 2011, and hope that 2012 will be even better!


We had SNOmg 2011.  The snow was officially one wiener dog deep, law school got cancelled for a good three days, and fun was had by all.  We took Pegs out in the snow and watched her ears fly backwards and ten thousand weenie dog tunnels appear in the snow.  We went to the park and sledded down the hill until we were frozen, like we were seven years old.  We went BACK to the park with Tim and Jess and drank sangria out of Chick-fil-a cups while we sledded some more.  We all ate beef stew and got in the hot tub while it snowed a little bit more.  

My 23rd birthday was on the 23rd, and my birthday week almost always coincides with Charlotte Restaurant Week, which meant we got to go to Mickey and Mooch and had some of the most delicious (and hugely portioned) food I've had all year.  


We went on a super fun little mountain vacation.  Tim, Jess and a few other couples went and we had quite the time.  We cooked a lot, we built a lot of fires, we ate a ton, we went through a whole lot of cans.  We played some Wii, we went to Boone just once and we were generally super lazy.  I can't wait to repeat a lot of those activities when we go back to the mountains here in a few weeks.  There will be lots of hot tubbing, movie watching, and pajama-pants wearing.  

And who could forget my icy-cold-beverage trick?  

Then there was a much less fun time when Peggy Sue foraged in my bag for a pack of spearmint, sugar-free gum and had to spend the night at the emergency  vet and I almost freaked out.  Let's hope we don't have any repeated incidents like that this time.


March always brings the Boys and Girls Club Pancake Day, which I hope they have every year from now until forever.  So much fun.  

Pancake day also happened to be St. Patty's Day, which meant a fun night out at Joe's Sports Bar!

I went up to DC in March for Lia's birthday/Spring Break and we did too many things to name - laser tag, happy hour, Lia's birthday party, you name it.  

Oh, and Krispy Kreme!  How could I forget Krispy Kreme?  That always seems to happen when I go to DC, I don't know why.  But I like it.  


April means spring, and I love spring!  It also meant PB's birthday, which meant a little lake party for him.  And me forgetting candles and lighting all the 80's decorative ones I could find in the house instead.

It also meant Easter - dying eggs, hanging out with good friends at the lake, and being thankful for everything that Easter means to me.  


I finally got out of law school after what seemed like 200 years.  And then they let you wear a cool hat that kind of makes you look like you should be tossing pizza dough in the air!

Otherwise, I spent a lot of time at the lake, relaxing and enjoying the spring weather in the hammock or on the dock.  I also spent a lot of time studying for the Praxis and fretting about whether I was going to be teaching this year or not.  Definitely a time of a lot of changes and a lot of thinking!


I studied, studied, studied for the Praxis.  I started putting in super long hours in training for my teaching this year.  I started my student teaching, teaching English to high schoolers, which I absolutely adored.  I barely slept, I got up at 4:30 lots of days, and we sweated to death with 27 juniors who didn't want to be in English class all day long, every day during summer break, but I think everyone (myself included) learned a lot.  My two teaching partners quit and left me alone, leaving me with a ton of work.  But all in all, I grew a ton and I felt like I was ready to start my job in the fall.  I still miss all those summer school kids.  They were awesome.

That's really about all I had time for.  It's all kind of a blur now because I was so busy.  But it was definitely a summer to remember!


July was much the same as June.  A total blur.  Teach teach teach, interview interview, seminar, interview, seminar, turn in assignments, do more assignments, turn in more assignments.

We did manage to make it to my grandparents' beach condo for a few days, and relax in the pool, with some good seafood, and a little shopping.  That was super nice.


August was full-on wedding prep month.  I had a few weeks off from summer school and before starting my job to get everything in order.  And it was all filled with showers, bachelorette partying, and last-minute details.  

I am so blessed to have so many sweet people who wanted to give me showers.  My mom's side of the family gave us a cookout and Disney honeymoon shower, which was amazing.  We got a ton of Disney gift card dollars, which made our honeymoon absolutely off the charts.  We got some sweet Disney figurines, and my cousin who threw the shower made us a picture frame with Mickey and Minnie that everyone signed for us with their good wishes.

My dad's side of the family threw me a gorgeous shower at our rehearsal dinner location, with yummy appetizers and lots of amazing gifts.  Dishes, pottery, more dishes, oh my!  I just love all the pottery we got for our wedding especially, even though it wasn't on our registry.  I use it all constantly.

And perhaps my favorite part of the month - my bachelorette party.  It deserves a whole post of its own, but I was so busy that I never got around to it.  And since this is something of a little scrapbook memory preservation deal for me, I'm going to do it now.

My sweet bridesmaids and friends from college got us a big suite at a hotel at Myrtle Beach.  Jess, Michelle and I all drove down together and started enjoying a few drinks on the beach.  This right here?  Heaven.  Though by the time everyone else got there, we were a little, ahem, ahead with our fun.

We went out and had an amazing dinner on the pier at Myrtle Beach, and then we went to Jimmy Buffett's Landshark bar on the beach.  However, like I said, some of us were further ahead than others. Like me.  So that made for an early night, because I was just ready to go to sleep about 10pm.  So much fun though!

The next day, it poured down rain while we were at breakfast, but it turned into a gorgeous day later on and we got to hang out on the beach.  We came back inside to get ready to go out, and there may have been a period of me dancing in my bathing suit on the balcony overlooking the pool while the DJ by the pool cheered us on.  Or there may not have.  Just saying.

We called to get a taxi, and surprise surprise to all of us, a limo showed up from the cab company to take us to Broadway at the Beach!  So fun!  And notice my bachelorette cowboy hat and sash - amazing.  They also had custom tank tops made for all of us that said "Save a horse, ride the bride."  We got a lot of laughs out of that one!

We went to Crocodile Rocks Piano Bar, aka the most fun place ever.  Can you tell?  So fun!!

When we got home, after having a delicious, healthy cheeseburger at the diner near our hotel, we all went to bed.  And then the fire alarm went off at 4am, about an hour after we got home.  And then we waited out on the curb for Myrtle Beach FD to show up for about 20 minutes.  A hilarious story, but none of us were very pleased with the folks who had literally managed to set their room on fire. 

We had another awesome shower put on by my stepmom and aunts - a luau!  Who doesn't love a good luau?

Our family friend Janice and my sweet sweet MOH Jessica also threw us a shower that looked like it was straight out of Southern Living.  I've never even been to such an awesome event, much less had one thrown for me!  Seriously, Janice's backyard is like the epitome of every Pinterest idea you've always wanted to execute.

It was such a fun time, since it was a little evening couples' shower, and it was so much fun!

Whew, August was busy!  And how could I forget starting teaching?!  Oh my goodness, it's a wonder we all survived!


Well, obviously September was The Big Month In Which We Got Married And Went to Disney World.  I already recapped most of that, but it was just an amazing month.  I want to go back to Disney World right this very minute!


I'm a little short on pictures, but the highlights of October were Cody and Hillary's wedding on Halloween weekend.  It was outside and pretty darn chilly but it was a gorgeous fall wedding and we had so much fun!  And her pictures are absolutely beautiful - go check them out here, especially if you are looking for some wedding photo inspiration.  They are Pinterest-worthy, every one!

See what I mean?

We also had our 6th grade skating trip, which was so much fun!  I strapped on my roller blades, which I think I got when I was in the 6th grade myself and skated right along with the kiddos.  One of my sweet, sweet babies who is autistic had never skated before, wanted me to help her.  She's probably a little bigger than I am, and boy she was hanging on to me tight.  As soon as we got halfway around, the skating rink dude announced that we were going to be playing Wipe Out.  Her eyes got big and I didn't know if she was going to be able to handle it, but handle it we did!  Granted, when he'd say "wipe out" it would pretty much take me the whole time until the next wipe out to get her up and rolling again.  At one point, she just started bending over when he'd say "wipe out" and I'd start taking a knee.  I'm sure it was quite the sight.  It was so sweet to see her excited though, and I'm sure I'll always remember skating with her.  


November always brings the Christmas parade!  My parents are on the parade route, so tons of people come and there is hot chocolate, coffee, cookies, snacks, and the ever-celebrated Parade Afterparty.

This year, I drove the retired athletic director from the Boys and Girls club in a '57 T-bird.  He had so much fun!

Of course, November always brings Thanksgiving too.  

I did a ton of baking and cooking and wrecked the entire kitchen, as usual.  

One of the things I cooked for was the annual deviled egg cook-off, which usually successfully turns me off to eating any deviled eggs for the rest of the year.

I had to rock the Pajama Jeans at Thanksgiving to accommodate all of my anticipated eating.

I also went over to see my dad's side of the family, though I couldn't physically eat another bite by that point.

It was so good to see my cousins that I don't normally get to see all year.


Of course, December is chock full of Christmas goodness.  We had a week-long pot luck at work, another reason to love my job.  Each day of the week before Christmas, one team provided lunch for the rest of the staff.  Which meant I just feasted and feasted all week long.  

It also meant crazy Christmas sweaters the day before break!

Love it!

I can't believe that 2011 is almost over.  Bring on the champagne and the crossing out 2011 and writing 2012 every time I write the date for the next month!  

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Well, here we go with my seemingly once-monthly update.  You got it - the quick and dirty with what's been going on around these here parts.

First of all, it's Christmas!  And one of the super fun things that I love about teaching is how seriously we all take Christmas.  We decided to wear crazy Christmas sweaters on the last day of school before break.  All the kiddos thought we were insane, which is always fun.  The two black sweaters are from the Nana, who has bins and bins of these things around the house.

If you can't tell, the headband I'm wearing is a glittery snowman, procured from the hospital gift shop by my mom.  It's not too much, is it?

It was also my grandma's 90th birthday, so we had a party for her in her church fellowship hall.  Here's us with the whole fam! She had such a good time, it was too sweet.  I hope I'm in as good shape as she is if I make it to 90!

And now on to Christmas itself.  PB and I did a little Black Friday shopping and decided we needed a new washer and dryer.  We are working on a little rental house, which needs a washer and dryer, so we decided that if we were going to spend money on a washer and dryer, we'd get new ones for ourselves and take our older ones to the rental house.

So Santa's delivery boys brought us some new appliances!

You know, it turns out that they don't make me like doing laundry any more than I used to, though.  If only the dryer would also fold and put away my clothes.  Sigh.  One day I'll invent that and make a million dollars.

We started off Christmas morning at my parents' house, as we always do, with ham and sausage biscuits, powdered sugar donuts (I could eat a million), and fruit salad.  

Mom got an iPad for Christmas, which we all had fun playing with, and I took this video of Nana playing Fruit Ninja.  It's her first time ever playing with an iPad (or really any touch screen device) and her first time even hearing of Fruit Ninja.  She is rocking it OUT!

We went over to PB's grandmother's house for lunch after that, like I needed more food.  Here's us at her house, waiting to feed our faces for the billionth time!

Here's my tree on Christmas morning - I hope you and yours had a lovely, lovely holiday!  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

As always, thanks to Chelsea at Roots and Rings for hosting!  This week's questions are written by Lauren from Texas.

1.  What are your pantry staples?
Bagel thins (love those for breakfast, or after school with some pimento cheese), spaghetti and pasta sauce (my go to meal when I don't have anything else planned), cereal of some variety (I most often buy Frosted Mini-Wheats or Cinnamon Life), and some kind of granola bars (lately I've been loving the Nature Valley squares with peanut butter.)

2.  What are your refrigerator staples?
Frank's Red Hot, milk, eggs, yogurt, butter, and wine.  There always has to be one bottle - I mean, it keeps it colder than the wine fridge does.

3.  You already look like Heidi Klum (or your favorite supermodel).  Now, what are the three non-physical things you would change about yourself?
I would be more organized.  Seriously, I am the absolute most disorganized person you know.  Shove it in a drawer, accidentally throw it out, throw it over your shoulder and into the backseat are all VERY much my MO.  Other than that, I'd be more crafty so I could make more Pinterest wonders, and I'd be less of a procrastinator.  Captain Last Minute, at your service!

4.  What's holding you back from your dream job?  (If you already have your dream job, how did you get there?)
Man, it feels good to answer this question.  I was walking into work this morning, despite the fact that it was 7:30 in the morning, thinking how lucky I am to have my job.  Basically, I was really blessed to find a way into my field with absolutely zero experience or training.  Some days, I still feel like I have NO earthly idea what I'm doing, which is a little frustrating, but it gets better all the time.  I think my ultimate dream job is still my original plan - to get a doctorate and move into school administration.  We'll see.  Life and having a job and house and weenie dogs to feed is sort of a hindrance for all that, but maybe one of these days.  Until then, I'm perfectly happy where I am.

5.  You have $500, but it has to be spent on one item only.  Go.  
A little storage building for our yard to house the lawnmower and all PB's tools and junk.  WOW, this officially means I am really old and boring.

6.  What is something you are embarrassed to admit you buy on a regular basis?
I buy a lottery ticket for just about every drawing.  I'm not ALL that embarrassed though - I always say, you can't win if you don't play.  And I wanna be on that "The Lottery Changed My Life" show.

7.  What's in/on your bed every night?
Peggy Sue, Brenda Lee, PB, my big body pillow, and two regular pillows.  It's amazing we all fit.

8.  What is a non-necessity item that, no matter how expensive it gets or how tight your budget is, you will always find room for it?
Diet Sundrop.  I can't quit it.  I've tried.  I can't replace it with anything else.  It has to be part of my life or I am not a happy camper.

9.  What is the weirdest sandwich you've ever made?
Perhaps what's weirder is that I really don't like sandwiches.  Like I don't even buy bread or lunch meat unless PB specifically requests it because I won't eat it.

10.  Would you rather: be banned from Pinterest forever, but gain a million captive Twitter followers; or, never get on Facebook again but gain five thousand blog readers?
This is hard.  I just adore Pinterest, but I also love Facebook.  I guess I'll pick between the positive alternatives.  I don't care at all about Twitter followers - in fact, half the time I forget to tweet.  So I'd definitely take the blog followers, especially because then I know I'd be doing a ton of cool giveaways and whatnot, and it would be awesome.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Meet the newest critter...

I realized today that I have committed a great travesty.  You haven't met Brenda Lee.  Brenda Lee is a little blue and tan weenie dog that we got the week before our wedding.  I had been after PB about getting a friend for Peg, and lo and behold, we start driving the weekend before the wedding, and he takes me to look at weenie dogs.  And then of course I had to take her home right then.  She is a MESS. 

See how innocent she looks there?  

Well, don't be fooled so easily.  I was in the shower for ten minutes, and I get out to find this.  "No mama, we didn't eat a huge hole in the bathroom rug.  No, that's not fuzzies on Peggy Sue's head.  What fuzzies?  In my mouth?  I don't know what you're talking about."

And this is what happens if you grab a beach towel out of the closet as an impromptu weenie bed, and then you fail to completely close the closet.  Also, that closet happens to be where you keep the extra toilet paper.  Whoops.

So that's Brenda Lee.  Really though, she is a sweet thing and she actually listens better than Peggy Sue as a general rule.  It's just that when they're together, they're like little criminal masterminds.  

In other news of bad behavior, this is what I saw in the hallway by my classroom the other day:

Does this not solidify my argument that we should be teaching kids phonics?  I mean come on, shouldn't all middle schoolers have mastered the correct spelling of curse words by now?

But for the children who are not poorly spelling curse words on lockers, we had a little celebratory skating trip yesterday!  There's a skating rink within walking distance of the school, even if it's a little bit of a sketchy walk.  The kids were SO excited, it was precious.  

I even dug out my own rollerblades that I think I probably got I was in the sixth grade myself.  See?

It was really a lot of fun, and I think skating's a lot like riding a bike - you just don't forget.  I didn't even fall until the very end, when a kid asked me to help her skate and I should have said no, or at least told her she'd have to try without holding onto me.  She was taller than me and girl had a DEATH grip on my arm - so when her feet started shooting out from under her about halfway around the loop, she jerked me backwards so hard that I slammed onto the concrete.  Owwwww.  My back is still recovering. All in all though, it was a super duper fun day.  I could go skating every week!

I'm glad for a day off to recover today though.  One thing I did was start getting out a few Christmas decorations!  I haven't gotten the tree down yet, but that's imminent if I can talk PB into doing it tonight.  We'll see about that though, because the Carrier Classic is on tonight.  Oh you haven't heard?  UNC is playing on an aircraft carrier!  I'm pretty excited too.  Go Heels, go America.

But anywho, I saw this on Pinterest and decided it was simple enough for me to execute:

See?  A nifty way to display Christmas cards!  I just bought some shimmery red ribbon at Walmart and stapled it to the inside of my cabinet door and attached the card with a clothespin.  I'm so excited about it because honestly, I usually just end up stacking cards in a pile and throwing them out in January because I don't ever know what to do with them.  Winning!

Have you started decorating for Christmas yet?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ten on Tuesday!

As always, Ten on Tuesday (as well as this week's questions) are brought to you by Chelsea at Roots and Rings.  

1. What’s your favorite television show  for each day of the week?
Sunday – Pan Am
Monday – Mike & Molly
Tuesday – Parenthood
Wednesday – Modern Family
Thursday – The Big Bang Theory
Friday – Well, it used to be Friday Night Lights...still sad about that.  Now, I have no idea.  Maybe 20/20 if we even watch anything?
Saturday – If PB is home, it's pretty much Discovery Channel alllllll the time.
2. How many times do you wear your jeans before you watch them?
Hmm, depends on what I do in them.  Obviously, anything involving sweating or painting or going to a Japanese steakhouse that gives them a distinctive odor or any of that merits an immediate wash.  Ran a few errands in them?  Ehh, I'll wear them at least twice, maybe three times if I didn't wear them long and they didn't stretch out too much.
3. What is your favorite pasta shape?
I pretty much eat pasta like 4 times a week because I love love love it.  I guess my most frequently bought shape would be thin spaghetti, but seriously, I love it all.
4. Do you read newspapers?
5. Do you sleep in socks?
Absolutely not...that would make me insane.  I tried it once when it was winter and my skin was all dry and someone suggested sleeping in lots of lotion and socks.  I hated it.  Ripped those suckers off.
6. Favorite genre of movies?
Hmm.  You know, I am not a big movie person.  I just don't have the attention span.  But generally, those that I do like are kind of quirky movies.  And I do love a good comedy.
7. How do you feel about wrestling?
Um, there's a lot of sweating.  And our high school wrestling room always stank a LOT.  And I don't like boys in leotards.  So I don't feel great about it.
8. Should men pluck their eyebrows?
PB has totally gotten those things waxed a few times for special occasions (like our wedding).  I don't agree with plucking/waxing them into girly things, but if they are three inches wide or grow all the way across your face, no one is going to take your man card for grooming them, I promise.
9. Do you have dimples?
Uh, are we talking about the fat dimples adjacent to my muffin tops on my back?  No?  Oh, you meant the cute cheek ones?  Then no.  Definitely not.
10. Do you like to camp?
I like to look at pictures of people camping and look up campfire recipes.  I like the idea of camping.  I've never actually been because PB feels that I will like the actual reality of camping a lot less and refuses to take me.  This is probably a good plan.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Menu Sunday

I say "Menu Sunday" like it's something I do every Sunday.  Or something I've done any Sunday.  But hey, other folks do menu days of the week, so I figure Sunday is as good a day as any.  And I have actually been cooking some things recently, rather than just growling at PB that I need Chinese takeout, which was my MO when I was so busy trying to catch up after the wedding.

Here's what we've been eating lately:

The in-laws gave me a ton of corn to freeze, so I've been serving a lot of corn on the cob.  Delicious.  The ribs were on sale when I was poking around at Food Lion, and they turned out to be absolute perfection.  I didn't change a thing about the pork recipe and it was amazing.  Definitely brown the ribs before you cook them - don't skip that part!

Oh, and PB did all the plating and fixed "dessert" - sliced apples.  Cute.

Fondue night!

Or "Cook Your Own Damn Food Night" as PB calls it.  My friend Lia introduced me to this idea and it's a lot of fun.  Normally, I get more into this with a spice rub, a bunch of different kinds of meat, and maybe even chocolate fondue for dessert.  But this time, since it was just me and PB, I grabbed a pack of spicy Italian Johnsonville brats on sale at the grocery store, some mushrooms, and chopped up some potatoes I had.  

I fired up a little cooking material in the fondue part, which is just half red wine and half vegetable broth, or thereabouts.  I add a little garlic, salt, and pepper and BAM, fondue.  Fair warning though - the boiling wine sauce in your house is going to make it STANK.  It's worth it, but get ready for a night of your house being a little smelly.

Creamy Tortellini Soup

I liked this recipe a lot, but PB was not a fan.  Basically, anything that doesn't include meat isn't a winner in PB's book.  After we finished, the little meanie goes, "Okay, so what are we eating for dinner?"

So maybe it's a little girly.  But I'd recommend it.

I made some banana nut muffins to keep around this week.  Because you know, what I need is muffins to add my already-off-the-chain muffin tops.  But they're yummy and weren't hard to make.  

Chili, which is sort of my own creation.  I've played with about a million different recipes and finally figured out what works for us.

1 package McCormick slow cooker chili seasoning
1 tablespoon cumin
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon garlic

32 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can Ro-Tel, undrained
1 can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef

Brown ground beef and onion in skillet.  Drain well.  Mix in slow cooker with remaining ingredients.  Cook on low for 6 hours.

And there you have it - what we've been eating this week!

What's been cooking in your kitchen lately?