Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rec-i-Peep

Hey, kids. It's been a hot minute since I last graced the internet with my blogging presence, but here I am.

I've had a rough couple of days.

Nothing overly dramatic; just a few incredibly awkward situations that I'll happily fill you in on tomorrow.

But I should probably alert you to the adorable Easter cake I made first:



Look at the mother Peep and her delicious chocolatey babies in their nest!

I saw cupcakes decorated like this at the grocery store and decided it would be the perfect decor for my carrot cake.

Want an awesome carrot cake recipe that never disappoints? Here ya go!

Sally's Baking Addiction is a godsend. I adore that woman's recipes. 

And to top off the moist not dry carrot cake, I added several layers of my mother-in-law's marvelous (I can't even think of a good enough adjective) cream cheese frosting. She sent me the recipe and I archived it under "amazing".

I'd share it with you, but then I'd have to kill you.

Clayton and I spent Easter Sunday at my mother's and in addition to enjoying some sunshine and a delicious feast of lamb, twice-baked potatoes and white corn, we took part in our longstanding family tradition of dyeing Easter eggs.


We were more interested in adult beverages and new cell phones, so we didn't give our egg-dyeing project as much attention and dedication as in years past.

Although Ashley's boyfriend, Chris, painted eggs like the rent is due tomorrow. He can take full credit for the pretty, multi-colored eggs at the back of the above photo. All the eggs that look purplish/pink? That's my work. I'm in my Purplish/Pink Period.

The one that looks like poop is Ashley's.

Clayton broke his first egg and then quit. 

And I should mention that the dye did NOT easily wash off. Today is Wednesday and I still have pink dye under my fingernails.

And I have man hands.

I only had one Cadbury Creme Egg this year which is a record low for me. I didn't give Easter candy much thought this year which is both sad and sacrilegious. But based on the amount of cream cheese frosting I ate whilst baking my carrot cake, it all evened out.

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hope springs eternal

I'm having an awesome morning and it's probably from all of this awesome coffee I'm drinking.

And probably because it's Friday!

And probably because it's Easter weekend.

When I attended a private Christian school, it was customary to have Good Friday off in order to be at home and reflect. As a child, I always thought of Good Friday as a somber, depressing day (not to mention it always seemed to be raining) because well, Jesus was technically dead right now, right? My young brain had difficulty processing the mental image of my Savior napping in a darkened tomb like a mummy.

But as an adult, Good Friday is full of hope. Believers know that victory is on the horizon and what withered away will bloom once again.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

Have a lovely weekend and a happy, happy Easter!



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Baby steps

In the past year or so, I've noticed that it's becoming easier and easier for me to feel overwhelmed. I've always been an anxious person (it's just my personality), but the panic attack I suffered the night before we closed on our house last August served as a major catalyst for general, everyday anxiety and the constant need to escape to a deserted island.

With spring finally making its grand entrance (Geeze, took ya long enough), Clayton and I have made list after mental list of projects we'd like (and/or NEED) to accomplish in or around our house. As I mentioned earlier this week, our yard is a hot mess that is in desperate need of some TLC (and our lawn mower is busted). Plus we still have two rooms to paint, the paint in our bathroom started peeling off in chunks, we need to re-caulk both bathtubs, we need to replace a piece of our kitchen floor, and our house just needs a good, thorough scrubbing after a long, dreary winter.

Throw in a job that has extremely high rates of compassion fatigue (meaning that I work in a "helping" profession that largely consists of listening to the personal problems of multiple people every single day.), and I'm just ready to emotionally shut down. The other day I told Clayton that my team and I should get honorary Psychology degrees for all of the therapy we conduct in our offices.

So I've been feeling overwhelmed. There's never enough time for anything anymore and when I do have a few stolen moments to work on personal projects, I'm so drained from the day, I just want to sleep or stare blankly at the television.

Since I don't want stress or anxiety to get the best of me, I'm trying my darnedest to take small, purposeful steps each evening and on the weekends to slowly work towards all of these tasks. It's taking much longer than I originally intended to get things done, but by just giving myself one or two small goals like "weed the flower boxes" or "buy toilet paper" or "organize the hall closet", I'm feeling less pressured and more accomplished. (I also give myself easy goals like, "Drink a big a$$ glass of wine and eat Sour Patch Kids". No problems there.)

Last night I told myself I'd hang our wedding frames up in our hallway. Even if I did absolutely nothing else that evening, all I had to do was hang those darn picture frames. And I did. And it made the space much more homey and inviting. And I went to bed feeling like I successfully checked an item off of my to-do list. And it fueled my desire to tackle another small task today ...

... Which is to return a pair of too-tight dress pants to the mall because linen capris are manufactured by Satan.


How do you set goals for yourself?


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

owl porn

My boss turned me on to what could easily be my equivalent to internet porn:

24/7 OWL WATCHING!

Wanna see what an Indiana Barred Owl does all day? (Hint: Not much), click here!

My boss sent me the link this morning and I was instantly like,

http://img2-1.timeinc.net/ew/i/2012/10/03/30ROCK-I.jpg

(By the way, Liz Lemon is my spirit animal.)

I haven't streamed anything on my work computer since last year's Boston Marathon (and divine intervention led me to close the tab about 5 minutes before the bombs went off), so these owls are bound to make the day go by faster. Although, I could really do without the dead mouse in the background. Yeah.

If someone could just find me a live stream of puppies, we'd be in business. 

I've considered setting up a web cam so I can spy on  Joey during the day, but 1.) that would make me even more of an obsessive lunatic and 2.) it would just be a lot of beagle snoozing (and if we're being totally honest, a lot of beagle farting). I swear, sometimes when I go home for lunch, that dog is laying in the exact same position as I left him in that morning.

A co-worker and I had a lengthy conversation about everything we'd like to see stream on a 24-hour live web cam. She voted for baby elephants. I made a strong case for a cupcake shop. Then we both agreed on hot men doing household chores and cooking dinner.

Oh man, sh*t just got real.

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

the yard

I was running around in shorts this weekend. Then it snowed last night.

Spring, you disappoint me.

So how was your weekend? Mine was pretty good! Didn't do anything too terribly exciting: Met friends for dinner on Friday, weeded my garden boxes, got a tetanus shot, ran a few miles ... You know, the usual. 

Except for the whole tetanus shot thing, I guess.

My first official day of spring cleaning as a homeowner and I decide to go dancing across a rusty nail in our shed and puncture a hole in my foot.

Ironically, this was no more than 10 minutes before I told Clayton, "Watch out for all the rusty nails!"

So yard work was cut short this weekend with an impromptu trip to the doctor. It was almost exactly 6 years to the day since my last tetanus shot (it was part of the whole "I can't cut potatoes without almost cutting off appendages" saga), so the nurse practitioner erred on the side of caution and suggested I get a shot anyway.

Get a shot I might not need or potentially lose my foot to gangrene ... It wasn't a hard decision. (And why is it that the shot hurt way more than stepping on the nail?!)

While we didn't get everything we wanted accomplished, I was still able to weed our garden boxes and prepare one of the front yard's flower beds for new plants. I also wrestled with a dead bulb whose roots ran halfway to China and there were so many various legs, I was convinced I was digging up an octopus.

But our front yard is still a hot mess. Remember these pics from last August when we had just laid down brick and added new mulch to the front yard?



Yeah, the front yard doesn't look like this anymore.

We had a really harsh winter and half the mulch blew out of the beds and the weeds are straight-up out of control. It looks terrible and it's far too much upkeep (I'd rather focus my time and energy on the garden). I actually hate how many plants are in the front yard and we have plans of digging everything up and planting grass in its place. Last summer's brick and mulch project was just a quick, temporary fix to the disaster we inherited from the previous homeowners.

(Word to the wise: Don't sell your house and then move to the Philippines without enlisting someone to come mow your yard occasionally before the new owners move in 3 months later.)

Only Clayton and I have no idea how to plant almost an entire yard of grass. All grass is not created equal and we have to call a professional and have them tell us what kind of grass we have and give us some instruction because we're both pretty ignorant about lawn care.

And honestly, landscaping doesn't really interest me. For the first hour or so, I was like, "YEAH! LOOK AT ME DOING STUFF IN MY OWN YARD!" Then about 2 hours and one rusty nail in the foot later, I was totally over it. My mom and sister both have green thumbs and are super into their yards, whereas I'm super into having other people do the work for me. 

While we were yanking weeds on Saturday, I said to Clayton, "Remember when we lived in an apartment and didn't have to mess with any of this?"

"Yeah," he replied, flinging dirt into the air as he broke a root free.

"Yeah," I agreed as we fell back into an irritated silence.

However, the stress and strain of yard work wasn't all bad (minus punching a hole in my foot, of course). As we broke our backs tugging on roots, we discovered that our stinky little beagle LOVES the freshly weeded garden boxes and made it a point to nap in them all afternoon.

This will become quite problematic once we actually have vegetables growing in them.

But Joey is actually quite the digger and helped us find a few weeds we missed:


^^That is 1 minute and 48 seconds of pure, unedited beagle-y cuteness right there. Warning: Things get unbearably adorable about 30 seconds in.

And our little man was WIPED OUT after playing in the yard all day.


Happy Tuesday!

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