Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Early Birthday To Me (again)

Look at all the cards I've received!! I feel so special :)

On Wednesday I had a party at Kelseyville Pizza. It consisted of pizza, 2 cakes, balloons, presents and a lot of my favorite people.

It was a fun time and I felt very spoiled. Later that night Jake gave me a present too. He only gave it to me because I guessed what it was. We always do this thing where we give each other clues about our gifts and then try to guess what it is. I guessed correctly the other day, but he said I was wrong. Then on Wednesday night he wrapped my present and put it on the table. I knew by the shape of it that I was right and so I told him. He admitted that I was and then let me open it. He was upset though and said I can never have any clues ever again. I should have just played dumb and not guessed it, but I was just soooo excited because I've been wanting one for a long time! Behold the most beautiful teakettle in the world:
Please ignore my reflection. I can't take pictures.
Isn't it so pretty? I want to have a tea party right now. I've already used it twice. Well I didn't actually make tea the first time because it was 9:00 at night, but I wanted to hear the whistle blow. It's loud and it scares me a little. I'm worried that it will blow up.
This birthday has already been so wonderful and I'm still 2 days away from the actual day! I'm really so fortunate to have so many people in my life that care about me and want me to feel special. I don't think I deserve it, but I'll take it anyway :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Garden Update

It froze last night :( Stupid Lake County. It's almost May. It should NOT be freezing. -1 point for you. We think we lost the basil, but it's too soon to tell about the other plants. says it's going to be 38 degrees tonight. Yesterday it said the low would be 39 degrees so there's a chance things will get really bad.

In happier news...Tuesday was the season premier of the Hills and the City. Kristen, from the Hills, was shown wearing an Eskimo Joe's Hoodie! It was the navy blue one. I also saw someone at the Olive Festival a few weeks wearing an Eskimo Joe's t-shirt.
I always wonder how people come across them. I realize you can order online and everything, but the chances of people actually being in Stillwater, OK are very slim so I feel a small connection to people I see wearing them outside of Oklahoma or Texas. It makes me miss the cheese fries and the spicy blackened chicken sandwich. And it makes me miss college. And it makes me miss home because my mom is in love with the Eskimo Joe's cups.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Our Garden Is Complete!

Jake spent most of the weekend putting his green thumb to good use. He went to the store and purchased all the plants he wanted in the garden and planted away. There's a wide variety of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. I'm so excited for everything to start growing!!

Jake is holding up a plant to make it look like a "green thumb." He's silly.

We're hoping that it doesn't freeze any time over the next few weeks. The man that mows our lawn said he doesn't usually plant until at least the first week of May so we're just going to cross our fingers. Even though the daytime temps are in the 70s or 80s it still gets really cold at night. Jake joked about putting an alarm outside that alerts you if the temperature gets to a certain point, but he values his sleep too much to actually go outside and do anything about the frozen plants. This whole thing reminds me of the movie A Walk in the Clouds with Keanu Reeves. They have a situation with the grapes freezing and everyone makes a mad dash outside to keep them warm. Keanu kicks over a lantern though and sends the whole vineyard up in flames. Very sad.

I'll post more pictures once the peppers start growing!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Saturday Night

Last night we went to a couple neat events. The first one was a fundraiser for a skate park that they're trying to build in Lakeport. My boss at the furniture store was very involved in putting everything together so I wanted to go and see out it turned out. It was an all day event, but we didn't get there until around 6. There was a pretty big crowd when we got there and my boss said that it was extremely busy around mid day so I guess it was pretty successful. They had a deejay, various bands, food, a beer garden, and ramps and rails for the skateboarders to ride on. Jake contributed to the proceeds by having a couple of drinks.

After walking around for a bit we decided to walk to a Mexican restaurant that's right on the lake. It was so nice out and we had a great view.

I was really excited when these cute little baby ducks swam by. I wish I could have them as pets, but I don't think they're as cute when they're grown up.

After dinner we headed over to the Lakeport Speedway to watch the races. This was my first time to ever attend a car race and it was quite the experience. Definitely not something I want to do all the time, but it was fun. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't been so tired. The main events don't start until around 8:30 or 9:00 and by the time they rolled around I was pretty much ready to go. We had a good time though and found out that the speedway is a very entertaining place to people watch.

And that is what a happening Saturday night looks like in Lake County. Not quite the night life that Las Vegas has to offer, but still a good time.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Can next weekend hurry up and get here?

I'm just soooo excited! Festivities will be starting on Saturday in Santa Rosa where I'll be attending a friend's bridal shower. She's such a wonderful girl and I cannot wait until her wedding. It's going to be the event of the summer. After that we'll be heading down to San Francisco to stay at this place I heard about, Inn 1890:

(Click on the picture for a link to their site)
I heard about it from a customer that came into the furniture store. She stayed there, slept on a Tempurpedic mattress, and knew that she needed one for her home. She raved about the Inn and said they have a kitchen that's open all night and you can just walk in and help yourself!

On Sunday we're going to go to a Giants game! Apparently they're on a losing streak, but I don't mind if they lose because they serve Gilroy garlic fries at the stadium and that's about all I need to make me happy.

We might go on a tour of Alcatraz too, but I'll be fine if we save that for another trip. We will definitely go to another Triple D location though. I need to do some research and decide which one(s).

Friday, April 23, 2010

I Really Miss These People

Well I just saw Erin (closest on the right) a couple weeks ago and I saw her a couple of months ago too so I miss her, but not as much as the others :) I REALLY miss the other girls. I haven't seen them since September. I've gone longer periods of time of not seeing them, but for some reason it feels like it's been forever. Part of the reason is because they're all going through such big life events right now, both good and bad, and I really want to be there with them to experience everything. I want to laugh and cry and celebrate and just sit around talking with them. I've known them since middle school/early high school and even though we went to different colleges and I haven't seen them on a regular basis since high school (8 years ago...omg, 8 years!!!) I still wish that we lived in the same area. And I'm jealous that they still do live in relatively the same area (with the exception of one that lives a few hours away). They all have their own exciting grown up lives and even though I know they miss me too, I also know that they're surviving just fine.

I, however, feel like a big part of my life is missing without them. I think the best way to explain it is this: You know how people get married because they know they've found the person they're meant to be with? Well I know these girls are meant to be my best friends. And yes, we talk on the phone and facebook each other often, but it's not the same as randomly deciding to meet for lunch or playing Apples to Apples on a Saturday night.

I hate being so far away from them. I know I need to accept the fact that where I am right now is most likely where I'll be the rest of my life and while I might eventually be able to visit them more often, I'll never be able to call them on a whim and invite them over to hang out. I also know that even though they are half way across the country, they are still only a phone call away and I'm forever grateful to be able to talk to them on the phone endlessly about the most random things. These girls have made me the person I am and I am so thankful to have them in my life, even if it's only by phone :)

Another Salad

Thai Style Steak Salad by Rachel Ray

3 garlic cloves, chopped
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons tamari (dark aged soy sauce, found on the international aisle)
2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Tabasco
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds flank steak
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 English or seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
5 radishes, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded carrots (available in pouches in the produce department)
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (a generous handful), chopped
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn
1 sack (12 ounces) baby spinach or 3/4 pound from bulk bins, washed and patted dry
1/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped

Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to high heat.

In a small bowl, mix the garlic, three fourths of the grated ginger, the tamari, and hot sauce. Whisk in about 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Place the meat in a shallow dish and coat it evenly in marinade. Let stand for 10 minutes.

In a small skillet, toast the shredded coconut until lightly golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Keep an eye on it; the coconut can go from golden brown to burnt, quickly. Remove the toasted coconut from the skillet and reserve.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ginger, the sugar, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a slow, steady stream.*

In a salad bowl, combine the cucumbers, bell peppers, radishes, shredded credits, onions, mint, cilantro, and basil. Pour the dressing over the veggies, toss to coat, and let sit while you cook the steak.

Grill the flank steak for 6 to 7 minutes on each side. Remove the flank steak from the grill and let the juices redistribute before slicing, 5 to 10 minutes. Thinly slice the meat on an angle, cutting the meat against the grain. To the dressed veggies, add the spinach, sliced steak, toasted coconut, and chopped peanuts, toss thoroughly and serve.

*I didn't make the dressing because I didn't have rice wine vinegar. I used this instead:

It was delicious.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Willow Tree Collection

My mom has given me every one of these and they were all for special reasons.

1.) The plaque: She gave me this one after I'd graduated college and was moving to Las Vegas. I think the symbolism is obvious and I'll just tear up if I try to explain it.

2.) The angel holding a cat: She gave me this one after one of our family cats, Whippie, passed away. We always said he was an angle. He had the softest white fur on his chest that resembled angel wings and we have a picture of him and Ace sitting next to each other with a beam of light shining on the top of his head like a halo.

3.) The one reading a book: She gave me this one after her good friend passed away. Her name was Fran and she was like a grandma to me and my sister. She lived down the street from us in Oklahoma and she was the silliest little thing. Full of spunk and always up to something (like cheating during some intense card games). She was also a big reader (hence the book).

4.) The one with the heart: I just wrote about this one in the last post.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Early Birthday To Me!

Today I received my b-day gift from my parents! The big gift was in the form of a check, which I plan on buying running shoes with. Along with the check I also received a big box filled with all sorts of goodies. Take a look:

And now, a closer look.....

LOTS of candy AND Luden's in boxes!!!

Stuff to make me pretty and some authentic scrunchies (under the brush) to remind me of my youth.

A new book to read. It's an Oprah Book Club book so you know it has to be good. I've read a few great books this month and plan on writing about them soon. Stay tuned for that!

The most amazing candle ever. Seriously, my house smells so good right now.

A new Willow Tree figurine. This isn't actually a b-day present. My mom gave one to my sister as well as a little tribute to our cat Ace that recently passed away. I'm going to do a post on these soon. You might remember that I've mentioned them before in this post.

It's already been such a great birthday and I still have a week and a half before the actual day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Statement of the Week

I realize the week isn't over yet, but I don't know what's going to top this one. I went to pick up a kindergartner from his class today to take him to my class and as soon as he saw me, he ran up and proclaimed "I'm wearing deodorant today!" I think my reply was "oh my!" I really hope it was just a one time thing and that his parents aren't going to allow him to do this all the time, or that they're letting him refrain from bathing and have used deodorant as a substitute. Whatever the reason is, I really hope that this kid can enjoy his childhood a little longer and not worry about smelling bad.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Bike Ride

Jake and I have very nice bikes, but we never ride them. I've been wanting to go for a ride for a while now and we finally had the perfect opportunity today. The weather was gorgeous and my only complaint is that the grapevines and the trees aren't in bloom yet because that would have made the ride even more beautiful. I'll be sure to take the camera out again once everything is blooming.

Every time Jake saw poppies he would say "poppies" in the Wicked Witch voice from the Wizard of Oz.

If anyone finds a jersey with a studly man on it please send it my way so that Jake and I can look ridiculous together.

We want to live here. We actually drive out of our way quite often just to see this house. It has a vineyard next door and it looks out over the vineyard in the picture below (it's also close to the little airport in Kelseyville and since Jake thinks he's going to own a plane one day this would be a perfect location for us).

We also stopped at a historical landmark during our journey.

That pretty much wraps up our adventure. I wish it was always spring time. Can someone please make that happen?

Friday, April 16, 2010

First Week With the Kiddos (and other stuff)

I finished my first week working with kids at school and it was so much fun. I was at three different elementary schools in the county and I definitely have my favorite, but I don't want to name any names :) I was only able to do 2 of my 4 groups at one of the schools though due to a minimum day so the verdict is still out on that one. I have come to the conclusion though that Kindergartners are definitely the most difficult ones to deal with. They're also the cutest ones, but they do NOT want to sit still at all. Hopefully it will get easier with time. I am also having a difficult time driving all over the county, working a few hours in the office and working at the furniture store. It's not a ridiculous number of hours or anything, but it's mentally draining. I'm really looking forward to summer break. Only a couple months away! I'll be working part time at the furniture store, but it's still a pretty big vacation.

On a completely random note, the other day Jake and I were running together (this never happens) and we ran by these 2 guys that were talking to each other. One of them looked at Jake and said "what the *bad word* are you looking at?" Jake didn't respond so it's not like some big fight broke out or anything, but I still can't believe the comment was made. In case you forgot, we live in the country, NOT a big city where this might happen on a regular basis because of crazy hobos or something. I'm pretty sure that some type of drug deal was occurring because I can't think of another reason this guy would be so upset with someone looking in his direction, but we were on a fairly busy street and it wasn't dark out. The guy should have used some common sense. Go behind a building if you don't want to be seen! We're running OUTSIDE and people are way more interesting to look at than trees or houses we've seen a million times. And, on top of that, I even did a nice little courtesy wave as we passed and now I wish I could take it back. I'm sure he didn't even see it because he was too preoccupied with Jake glancing in his general direction. But really, who freaks out about something like that??

And on another completely random note, I'm exhausted from this week, but I have to work at the store tomorrow :( AND the weather is finally going to be really nice out. Please feel sorry for me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sunday in San Fran

We traveled down to the big city last Sunday to see my friend Erin. She lives in Las Vegas, but came to town with one of her friends. They were in town Sunday through Wednesday, but being the working girl that I am, Sunday was the only time I could go down and see her. It was POURING rain and we got soaked walking around town, but it was worth it to see such a good friend. Before we met up with her though we stopped at a Triple D diner! We had to wait over an hour in line just to get in, but it was most definitely worth the wait. We both had this southwestern open faced omelet thing that was to die for. The picture definitely does not do it any justice. Everyone should go there right now and try it (just be prepared to wait)!

After we ate we met Erin and her friend in Union Square and did some shopping. Well we did some "looking" because none of us bought anything.

When we ventured into the mega huge Macy's and got off on the 6th floor I almost peed my pants when I saw this display!!

It's OUR china! Displayed in the most magnificent way! My photography skills must have been lacking that day because, once again, this picture does not do the display any justice. I seriously wanted to take the whole thing and put it in my house. P.S. I discovered that the pattern also includes the most adorable salt and pepper shakers. You can buy them for me if you want.

Well that concludes our day of fun in San Francisco. We're going again in a couple weeks for my b-day weekend. Plans include attending a Giants game and possibly a tour of Alcatraz! And I'm sure we'll squeeze in at least one more Triple D restaurant!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's Child Abuse Awareness Month!

Last Saturday we participated in an advocacy walk for child abuse awareness. Even though it was cloudy and on the verge of rain, there was still a great turn out. It was a really short walk and concluded with a little arts and crafts fair for kids. I found out about it through work and a lot of people I work with signed up, but I was the only one that showed up! Luckily Jake and some other awesome family members showed up so I didn't have to walk alone :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Coughing and a New Job Role

I've been sick for a whole week now and don't seem to be getting any better :( I just purchased my favorite cough drops with hope that they would cure everything, but unfortunately they did not. They did make me feel like a little girl again though. My mom used to buy them for me all the time (even when I wasn't sick). I was so excited when I found them at the store today. I was a little disappointed that they weren't available in the little white box. I made an appointment to see the doctor on Friday. Jake thinks I'm crazy for going to see the doctor for this, but the constant coughing is really getting on my nerves so I hope they can give me something to make me better.

I need to be all better by next week because I'm starting some new things at my Safe Schools job! I will be working with kids (kindergarten- 3rd grade) 3 days a week doing a program called EMHI (early mental health initiative). The program basically teaches kids how to deal with different emotions in a constructive manner. It involves puppets, crafts, games and other activities that sound like a lot of fun so I'm super excited! Unfortunately I won't be able to volunteer at the after school program due to the hours I'll be working, but I'm sure the new kiddos will be able to provide me with plenty of entertainment. I'm a little worried about how my new hours will work with my furniture store job too. I work there tomorrow though so hopefully my boss and I can figure something out. Stay tuned!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ace Ventura Pet Purrrrfect

(I stole this photo from my mom)

is the name of our first family pet. We got him from some family friends that rescued him from some boys that were throwing him against a wall. I heard from my family a few hours ago. They called to say that he had to be put down. He was 16 years old so I suppose it shouldn't be too surprising, but he was in great shape until last night so it's still a big shock. My mom said he was having trouble breathing so she took him to the vet this morning and eventually they decided he either had congestive heart failure or a tumor in his lung. Either way, they decided it would be best to let him go. I'm glad he didn't have to suffer long, but I still wish there had been time to say goodbye.

My family is oddly attached to all of our pets. Most people do not understand, but I feel it doesn't really need an explanation. They are all huge parts of our family and have brought so much happiness to our lives. When we lost one of our cats a couple of years ago I flew home right away, but I can't do that right now and it saddens me to not be there with my family. I know they're fine and will be okay without me, but I still feel like I should be there.

Like all of our pets, Ace was just so special. He had such a funny attitude and we imagined that if he'd been a human then he would have been an old British man. He always took good care of the other pets, but not when he was in plain site of any of the humans around. If we caught a glimpse of him grooming one of the other pets he'd quickly turn away and pretend to not have anything to do with them. If he noticed that the family dog wanted to come in from being outside he would stand at the door and meow. He loved attention and to be loved on, but only if he happened to be in the mood at that very moment. Otherwise he'd let you know by a quick snap at your hand that he didn't want to be bothered. He loved to roam the backyard, but never left the confines of the fence. He once put my mom in the hospital after she tried to give him a bath. He got scared, bit her arm, it caused an infection and she had to be there for a whole week. We never held that against him though. He was our rock. We always knew that he'd be there for us when we needed him. We will miss him dearly, but we will forever be grateful to have been in his presence for so many years. Align Center

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Baby-sitters Club Update

My mom called me last night to tell me she found this article. In case you don't want to click on the link, I'll give you a quick overview: Ann M. Martin just released another BSC book called The Summer Before. It visits all of the characters the summer before 8th grade and before they started the club. My mom is sending me a copy for my birthday! And if you read the article you'll find that I was not the only one obsessed with these books.