Friday, February 28, 2014

Craving Satisfied

I have a craving for soup in a big carb-y bread bowl. That is all. Good night!

I tweeted that just two nights ago before I fell asleep dreaming of bread bowls filled with hot soup. Since I did some errands yesterday, I considered picking one up on the way home since there is no way to demurely eat that deliciousness in public, but I decided not to. I rip and dip the bread into the soup over and over again until I can just pick it up entirely and bite. No spoon is even needed. 

This lovely, delectable treat was finally enjoyed tonight after Howard and I went out to get some more groceries and enjoy "Blue Friday," which I'll explain more in another post about the Shopkick app. We used to go to Panera once in a while when we were dating, but we may have only been there once or twice since getting married because it's so expensive. It brings back a lot of memories of conversations of eloping and giddiness after trying on engagement rings. But like I said, this monstrosity needs to be brought home to be fully enjoyed.

We got back pretty late since we had a couple of stops so it was actually close to 9pm by the time we started eating because I also threw some veggies in the oven to have with our meal. The tomato soup was so satisfying. When we were waiting in the extremely long line, I debated between the tomato and the broccoli cheddar, but I knew that a bread bowl had to be with the tart tomato soup. The only other time I've had the bread bowl was with tomato soup, and it was exactly what I was craving. 

And other than a little bit of the inside that I ripped out to make room for my soup that I shared with my hubs, I ate every last bit of that bread. Bread makes me a happy girl. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Roast 'Em!

Being a lazy cook means that I tend to use the oven if it's an option over using the stovetop. Our stove is pretty small, so it's sometimes a little difficult having a few pots and pans going at once. That means when we get veggies like zucchini, I immediately go to Google and look to see if there's a way to make them in the oven! In the past, I've cut them into circles and dipped them into egg and breadcrumbs, but this time I wanted something simpler (ahem, less work) so I found this recipe for roasted zucchini. 

My parents had picked up some zucchini for us because they were at Top Tomato where it's much cheaper than getting it at the grocery store. I was very appreciative because it's not something we get often because it's expensive. But now that we've tried this new recipe of just tossing them in a bit of olive oil and throwing on some spices, I'm going to be addicted!

I cut two zucchini into sticks (next time I think I'll cut them a little thicker) and put them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. The one on the left had just a little bit of salt and fresh cracked pepper. The one on the right has Cajun seasoning on it. After 15 minutes, I checked them because I didn't want the one on the bottom rack to burn, but they still looked okay, so they did stay in the oven for the full 20 minutes. 

They were absolutely delicious! Some of them were a little bit greasy, so I also know that I can use less olive oil, which of course, will make it healthier. There's something about roasting the vegetables that makes them taste so good. I much prefer it this way than the breadcrumb way too. Hmm, what else can I toss in the oven to roast?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When We Said "I Do": Part I

The day Howard and I got married was the happiest of my life because I was thrilled to finally be with my guy for the rest of our lives. We have quite a story as we dated for a brief moment when we were in college (and still just kids when we look at it now), breaking up and rebuilding our friendship over two years, and then serving together in our church's coffeehouse in 2008 and getting back together after that. After another two years of dating, he proposed to me at our church retreat, and we were ready to be married! 

But as those who have gone through it know, most wedding preparation usually stirs up a ton of drama and difficulties within the families. We ended up having to wait another two years before we actually got married. All I wanted was to spend time in preparation for our marriage, but because these things are supposed to be family events, we had to take the time to prepare for the wedding. 

In actuality, I really wanted a destination wedding in Disney World. It wasn't even because of the location; I was really drawn to the idea of inviting a total of 18 people and having a small, basic ceremony for just $5,000. The only people I would have to stand in front of would be people who knew us well. I was all for returning home and having an informal dinner with everyone else to celebrate. But that idea was just not possible. People were telling me that I would regret it, but I told them that I knew what I liked and what I really wanted. They told me that after the wedding, I would appreciate it after having experienced it and just be grateful we did it that way. I insisted that I just wanted to be married and not deal with the stress of getting married. No one seemed to believe me. 

And you know what? It's almost two years later, and I still wish we had done it our way. So much of the day was just my feeling awkward and wishing that people would stop looking at me! I never went through our wedding photos to post them in a Facebook album because going through them made me feel those similar feelings of nerves and "can-this-be-over-because-I-wanna-go-home."

But at the same time, there are some photos and moments that I absolutely love as they remind me of the GREAT things about our wedding day. I figured now is as good a time as any to start documenting some of the memories of our "This is supposed to our wedding day. Why did we invite all these people?" (Pam to Jim in The Office, season 6 episode 5). 

Having Jonathan do our flowers!

I might have said it on the blog before, but I am not a flowers kind of girl. Howard gave me flowers when I graduated college and then sent some to me after I had surgery to have my gallbladder removed when we were just friends again and a little awkward with each other. After that, he learned that I'm just not someone who appreciates bouquets because it actually requires a lot of work for the recipient! Plus, which would you rather have - a bunch of flowers or a cheeseburger? I love seeing flowers and think God's quite an amazing artist and designer when there are flowers growing outdoors, but I'd rather eat that cheeseburger.

Of course, we needed bouquets for the wedding, and I thought of the perfect solution! At church, Jonathan puts together the arrangements for the sanctuary every Sunday, and I wondered if he might want to attempt doing bouquets for a wedding. He eagerly agreed, so I was thrilled! All I told his dad, KK, was that I had two criteria: (1) I wanted them to be light so that It wouldn't be too exhausting carrying them and (2) I didn't want baby's breath. 

When I saw them, I was floored! They were wonderful and exactly my taste! Simple and clean but still gorgeous. I didn't request certain flowers or colors, but I told them what colors my girls' dresses were. The bright, cheerful yellow was just perfect for them. Having them take care of the flowers was a great idea because I didn't have to think about them or make too many choices, and I know that Jonathan really enjoyed the opportunity. Before his family left the wedding, I wanted to make sure we got a picture, and it ended up that that group photo has become one of my FAVORITES of our entire day.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Snowmen 'n Plaid

Boy, we've sure had a lot of snow this winter, haven't we? It's kind of crazy that the year that I'm not teaching, the school has a bunch of snow days and snow delays! But realistically, I was much happier knowing I'd be home on those days because I was already stressing for my mom's sake. If I had to drive as well, I'd be in full panic mode! Our location is good because we don't have to shovel when we live in an apartment building, but it's kind of a little bit difficult for me to think about driving from here. 

Regardless of how you might feel about snow, snowmen are the absolute cutest. I've actually never made a full-sized snowman in my life. The one time there was a lot of snow when I was a kid, my aunt, uncle, cousin (they lived next door) and older brother decided to build one out in our backyard. I remember watching from the kitchen sliding door wishing I could be outside too, but I happened to have a fever. Oh well. Maybe one day I'll make one carrot and all with my kiddies!

For these cards, I followed a similar format to one I found online made by Lisa's Handmade Cards. I like to include the link of the original blog post when I "scraplift" a card, but my pin on Pinterest shows that the domain name is no longer being used, so I'll just post a link to the pin.

I used the snowman cut from the Doodlecharms Cricut cartridge and kept it pretty simple because I wanted the buttons to be the focal point of the card. Lisa's original card included a scarf, which I attempted to recreate, but the size of the buttons I had just made it look off. 

Personally, I really like that the snowman is tilted and coming off the plaid layer and even the card itself. It gives it more character than just making it upright. I thought this was also the perfect opportunity to use interesting background paper since the image is so plain, so I had fun going through my paper and choosing these two versions of plaid. I decided not to include a sentiment so that it could be used for any occasion. How fun would it be to send this card in the middle of a hot summer instead of right now during this cold winter?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Friends Make Life Bear-able

What is it about all the bears on the Cricut cartridges that I just absolutely love? They're so cute! I think I've grown to really like bears because Howard likes them (as in, real bears, not just cute images of them, haha). It makes me excited about Disneynature's Bears. We have Chimpanzee and loved it, so of course, we'll get Bears when it comes out!

For this card, I just cut two bears from the Create a Critter cartridge and used different colors for the "clothes." It's funny that that's considered clothes because it's essentially just one block of paper! The sentiment is from Pink by Design's set called "Woodland Critters." Because of the cheery nature of the card, I thought the multi-colored polka dots fit with the sentiment.

As I hastily get this update ready to post, it's a nudge to finish the big custom order I have so that I can go back to crafting with different images because I'm almost out of cards to post here!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

An Island Getaway

What happens when Howard and I decide to close our eyes for 20 minutes earlier in the evening just because we're too exhausted (and too cold)? We end up taking a 3-hour nap. Whoops! That's kind of common for us because I am quite the fan of the snooze button. I set my alarm to wake me up at 8:10pm so that I could get up and type up this update to post by 8:30pm, but it just wasn't going to happen. Oh well, it's still the 23rd, so I'm technically on time anyway!

With the news that Disney has once again raised its ticket prices, an island vacation really makes more and more sense. My aunt, uncle, cousins, and a few of our church friends just went on a cruise getaway, so seeing the pictures of the gorgeous weather and the beautiful water got Howard and me thinking about having a non-Disney vacation in the future. Howard has never experienced an all-inclusive resort before, and it would definitely be a more relaxing experience as opposed to the hardcore park touring (even though we do love it!). It seems only appropriate that I post this card tonight!

The little island image is cut from the Cricut cartridge called "Pack Your Bags." It actually reminds me a lot of Pirates of the Caribbean when Jack and Elizabeth get stuck on the island with the hidden rum! The sentiment is from Pink by Design's set called "Summer Vacation." Other than that, there really isn't much else to say about this very simple card!

Now getting back to the raised Disney ticket prices ... boo to you, Disney! You already raised them last June! We both purchased 10-day no-expiration tickets from Undercover Tourist before that trip with my family because there's no doubt that we would eventually go back. I personally love the no-expiration option (although it seems like it's no longer available to purchase online via the Disney website) because it takes the pressure off of having to hit all 4 parks in one trip. We always do it anyway, but I know that there have been trips where we've had to change our plans the morning of because of health concerns, so it helps ease my mind knowing we won't "waste" a day. The other benefit is that the ticket will obviously be used over a span of 2.5 trips, so even with the no-expiration option added, we lock in the cost of each day at the parks although it does mean shelling out a lot at one time. Undercover Tourist still sells the tickets at the previous price until they're out, but it just doesn't make sense financially to be spending close to $700 right now. That's rent money and grocery money!

With that being said, WDW will still be our choice vacation destination because nothing beats that magical atmosphere and we want to be able to make memories with our kiddies there in the same way my parents did with my brothers and me. But the price increase (and the fact that Disney did it quietly without making a big announcement about it) does make an island getaway sound a bit more enticing! There are other locations we'd like to enjoy like Lancaster, PA (Hershey Park, Sight and Sound) and Washington DC (all those museums and the zoo!) so maybe this will nudge us to do those instead along with an all-inclusive stay in Bermuda or the Bahamas!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

For All The Babies!

It just seems like the perfect time to post these baby cards since our friends Enoch and Shirley announced on Facebook that they're expecting baby #2! Howard and I have been praying for them pretty much every single night along with the other moms-to-be that we know right now. It's so exciting when other people have babies because then we can get excited for them without having kids of our own just yet, haha.

As you've seen in the past, there are times that I see fantastic cards on Pinterest that really catch my eye. I use a lot of cards as inspiration, but sometimes I just don't see how anything can be changed, so I end up just "scraplifting" the original card. This is the case with these duck cards. The original crafter is Silke Shimazu, and you can see her card on her blog "Get Inky with Silke" by clicking here.

The only slight change I made was that I did want the ducks from the Doodlecharms Cricut cartridge to be a little bit bigger. I also didn't have much ribbon at the time, and I'm also not the greatest at tying it neatly so I used embroidery thread instead. I like how each thread is comprised of a bunch of different colors to add a little extra something as opposed to just using solid blue and pink. 

The bottom white layer is embossed with the Cuttlebug "Swiss Dots" folder to add dimension. Lastly, the sentiment is from Pink by Design's set called "Scripted Year." Thanks, Silke, for creating this wonderful card!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Good Food, Good Company

After I spent the day at the doctor's office and the stores two nights ago, I went home thinking Howard and I were going to just have an easy night because we had leftovers for dinner. Yay to no cooking! I was actually going to take an early shower because I had the echo cardiogram goop on me earlier, but I ended up chatting with my Disney friends about Bath & Body Works and sending some of them the email with the 40% mystery code. Once Howard got home, my mom called and asked if we wanted to go to dinner with them at Texas Roadhouse, and we gladly went along with them!

I've come a long way when it comes to being okay with eating at Texas Roadhouse because of my fear of HUGE animal heads especially buffalo. I've loved the food since the first time I ate there with some of my mom's extended family when we were on a short vacation in Lancaster, PA. I sat with my cousins Danielle, Nikki, and Chloe, and we had a great dinner. It was the first time I tried their chili and loved it, and I also had their fall apart ribs.

Danielle and I love our non-alcoholic drinks!
Four girls and a plate of cheese fries = happiness.
Since then I just loved eating there, but it was only recently that we started going to the one in New Jersey. Beforehand, we'd only go there when we were in PA for our church retreat. We were seated right away since it was a Wednesday night, so that was great because I was hungry and ready to eat! Normally, I eat some peanuts while we wait, but I've since figured out that peanuts and peanut butter make me feel pretty sick. I avoided it this time, and I was actually able to enjoy my dinner without any pain! Yay for figuring it out, but boo because I love peanuts and peanut butter things! Instead, I enjoyed the bread and butter. It's just so deliciously tasty. It's warm and soft and so easy to dip into the cinnamon honey butter. We finished the two baskets and then asked for more, so we were able to bring some home too.

With our entrees, we were able to choose two sides. I haven't gotten it in a long time, but I decided to go with the chili topped with cheese and onions. I know that when I have something like this as a side, there's really no way I'm eating my actual dinner especially since they bring this out first. That's fine by me because having leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day is something I really enjoy.

I ordered the ribs for my meal with steak fries. I love how you don't even need a knife to eat these as a fork just easily pulls the meat directly off leaving a amazingly clean bone. This yummy food lasts me a while too because I can bring it home and eat it twice! I'm a cheap date, haha.

Dinner with my parents was really fun because I obviously don't get to see them as often anymore since getting married. I don't think there was a moment where I shut my mouth except maybe to chew a little, but even then, I'm kind of non-stop. Apologies to my family!

After we finished eating, we went to Kohl's because my mom had a 30% off and there was a lot of clearance. I found a dress that was 80% off  for just $13.60, which meant that with the extra coupon, it only cost $9.52. That's how I like it! I really like buying dresses randomly so that when the special occasions come up, I don't have to search store after store because that's something that stresses me out. I haven't had to search for a dress for bridal showers and weddings since my brother's wedding. I also got an extra pair of my gray slip-ons because they were on sale for only $20, which meant $14 for my favorites in the warmer weather! Howard also found dress pants for work that only cost $18, so $12.60 after the coupon. Score!

We walked out with 3 items, but one item that we sadly didn't purchase was Someday by Justin Bieber. 

HAHA, just kidding. Howard just snapped this picture and sent it to me the next day, and I started cracking up. We laugh at it because of the fake commercial featuring Justin Bieber and Jimmy Fallon. No sadness that night, just lots of fun and good food with family!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Even Hawks Love Great Deals!

Yesterday I had to go to my cardiologist's office for an echo, so that meant that I was going to be passing by the mall and other stores on the way home since I still refuse to hop on the highway. Having places to go after things like this make it easier to deal with because I'm just not a fan of doctors' offices despite having been to so many in my life.

At the mall, I parked by JCPenney, which is fairly normal, but nowadays, I'm sure to do it so that I can get some kicks for Shopkick. Then as I was walking through the department store, I realized I forgot to put Vinylmation in my bag, so I had to head back to the car and grab them from the glove compartment! Going out forces me to exercise especially when I do absentminded things like that. 

The mall was pretty empty, but I guess that's how it is at 11 in the morning on a rainy Wednesday. I was a fan! I really don't enjoy the possibility of bumping into people I know especially since it happens way too often on this borough. But I immediately feel at ease once I make it to the Disney Store. I browsed clearance really quickly and also checked to see if there were any Vinylmation on sale. There was nothing worth getting, but I did see they had plenty of John Lassetire cars! Super cute for only $3.99 on sale if I recall correctly.

Though I didn't purchase anything, I was there to trade Vinylmation, of course. The CM that helped me actually pulled out the 3 in the mystery portion of the clear box too, which I always appreciate! Yay for him because this Dory was in there, so of course I traded for that! We've actually gotten most of Pixar Series 2 in trades alone since we're still using the Vampire Goofy and Werewolf Pluto to trade.

Bath & Body Works was next! That's another place I enjoy going to even if I have no intentions to purchase. I love how everything is set up in the store and being able to test out new scents. 

When I first walked in, I was greeted by an employee. I asked him right away if I could use the coupon that expired on Monday based on the 3-day grace period for coupons that I had read about online. He said it was absolutely fine, so I was excited because that meant I could use a 40% off coupon on the candles! I was also extremely happy that they changed the sale price back to 2 for $22 instead of 2 for $25. The funny thing is that while I was browsing with a few other people, the employee was telling everyone, "It's on sale 2 for $22, so you actually pay $0.50 less to get another candle for free since one by itself is $22.50." Isn't that silly?

A lady asked me if I had used their candles before, and I said that I love them because the throw is great and they can be such great deals with the coupons. They're really SO much cheaper than Yankee Candle, and she was saying that that's where she normally gets them. She asked me which ones I liked, so I pointed out a few to her but said that I like the fruity scents especially the citrus ones. 

I also texted my cousin because I talked to her the night before about the candles and how if the coupon could be used, each one would only be $6.60 instead of $22.50. I wanted to see what scents she wanted, but she was in a meeting so I picked up two that I'm hoping she will like! 

When I went to checkout, I saw the bakery scents and sniffed those too just out of curiosity because I don't like sweet scents. I can see why people like them though. I was surprised to see two of the Cinnamon Sugar Donut candles because I know it's the favorite of many people; I was excited to see what it was about, but it just wasn't for me.

The sales associate who rung me up was so nice! I've never had a bad experience at my store, so that makes me a happy customer. I also make sure I greet everyone I see with a smile too, and they usually respond in kind. She saw that I had a mystery coupon and said she always gets excited to see what people get. I knew already from my UPC code that I had 40% off, but she celebrated when the price of the candles dropped so low. I told her that I stocked up with fall/winter scents and thought I'd be set, but with the desire for warmer weather, I just wanted some fresh, clean scents! I'll post the new candles in a separate update.

I was hungry at this point especially since I had only eaten a granola bar for breakfast. I stopped by Burger King to pick up a Whopper Jr. because I wasn't in the mood for chicken, which is what I normally get at a fast food place. I got it to go so I could eat it in the car, but I had to walk around to a few more places to get kicks! I got some more from Macy's and Aerie, but I couldn't get it to work at American Eagle even though I was standing inside the store. Oh well. I couldn't keep trying because my arms were tired from lugging around candles.

When I got to the JCP door, I saw that it was pouring outside! Whoops! I didn't have an umbrella, but I didn't really care because I was so hot in my jacket walking around the mall that I just made sure I was zipped up and just headed out into the rain. I sat in the car and nom nom nom-ed my burger, which was actually really tasty! The onions and pickles were a great addition. Haha, yes, I just reviewed a BK burger, but that's because I very rarely get fast food anymore. Isn't it funny that once you have the option of getting it whenever you want, the desire to have it just isn't there anymore? It's so different from when I was a teenager. Maybe if there was a Chik-fil-A nearby, I'd be having fast food more often! Of course, I had to take a picture because I know everyone wants to see a half eaten burger.

Because of the rain, I chose not to go to Stop & Shop and instead headed to Target. I had a few items on my list to get and some clearance I wanted to check for in the store. Of course, Target also has a ton of items to scan for kicks. I think it's funny when I stand in front of the Poise pads searching for the items as if I need it for light bladder leakage, haha. It's worth it for kicks though! Since I was in the healthcare/medicinal aisles, I also went to check out the price of the Tums because I will need some more soon. I still have the fruit flavored ones, but I've found that I like the Ultra 1000 Peppermint ones, and I wanted to see if it was cheaper here or at CVS depending on sales so I snapped a picture. 

My main intention for going to Target was to get bread because of the Cartwheel offer. There's also an Ibotta offer for bread, so yay for that because I'll be able to get another $0.50! I never buy things purposely because of Ibotta so I don't accumulate the money as quickly, but after I submit this receipt, I'll have $7. Just $3 and I can cash out with a $10 iTunes card! I needed a basket since I decided to pick up lactose free milk here instead of at Pathmark and saw Babybel. Yum. I snapped a picture so I could do price comparisons for this too because I still have a coupon.

I checked out Valentine's clearance and strolled around for the Shopkick items (yay, I have enough kicks now for a $5 Target gift card!). Endcaps are also a ton of fun because you never know what's going to be on sale! I really like that I know items will continuously be marked down from 15 to 30 to 50 to 70 to 90% if it even gets to that point. Supposedly any price that ends in an 8 is also going to be marked down again. It helps having that Target knowledge! Lastly, I picked up a small pack of Kotex because there was a mobile coupon for $1.50 off, and the item was less than that, which means free stuff! Oh how I love it! No clipping required, and the employees can never say I can't use Cartwheel or mobile coupons because it's from the company and not a manufacturer's coupon.

As I left the store with my purchases, I noticed a family packing their things in their minivan, but one of the girls was pointing her camera towards Old Navy. I was wondering why she was doing it, and she must have seen me looking at her so she pointed to THIS! Can you see that?

Um, that thing was HUMONGOUS! It flew down to a cart, which was hilarious because it looked like it was peering through the minivan window. A car passed by and saw us standing there with our phones taking pictures, and pretty soon there was about a group of 8 of us just looking at it. A lady farther down asked what it was because she thought it was a turkey, and this other woman clarified that it was a hawk!

I started recording in case it started flying away, but it just flew to the roof of another car. This was such a crazy thing to see! I couldn't believe I was witnessing this with my own eyes! Pictures just don't do it justice. I admit I was slightly afraid that it'd fly towards us though.

Eventually it flew to the top of Target and even in this photo, it looks really large, doesn't it.

I guess I'm not the only one who likes searching for deals, right? Hawks are all for Target as well, but who can blame 'em when you can save so much money just by shopping around! 

I did stop by CVS on the way home to do a moneymaking deal since I have a free $5 ExtraBucks from answering a survey. I'll probably mention that again when I actually spend the $10 ExtraBucks that I now have. The rest of the night was also fun as Howard and I went out for dinner with my parents and Matt, but I'll write about that in another update because I was suddenly hit with severe dizziness, so I think I should go lie down. Good night all! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Happy Cupcake

Because I was out and about pretty much all day, I wasn't able to get my planned blog post written for today, so that'll have to wait until tomorrow. In my opinion, it'll be worth it though! Instead of a full recap of what happened today, I have a card for you instead! 

This simple birthday card was made using the cupcake image with candle from the Simply Charmed Cricut cartridge. Because of the eyes and mouth on the cuts, it's important to make the images fairly large so that they come out cleanly. I know that with the new Cricut Explore machine, things like that shouldn't be a problem, but I'm not about to purchase a new Cricut machine since I now have the Silhouette Cameo! 

The sentiment is from Pink by Design's set called "Birthday, Birthday." Lastly, as you can see, I decided to skip patterned paper since I couldn't find one that worked with the colors of the cupcake, so I used the Cuttlebug "Happy Birthday" embossing folder on a white mat. Sometimes I have to remind myself that that's an option because I forget to pull out my Cuttlebug! Despite having it for so long, I still love how simple it is to get an intricate embossed design on the paper for a card.

Oh No! It's 8:30!

If this post goes up, that means I didn't get back home in time to write up tonight's blog post. Never fear! Check back again soon, and I'll have it written once I have a moment. It'll be a picture-filled post. And something about a hawk. Yes, a hawk.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Droppin' You a Line

I remember when Pinterest first came out. I couldn't figure out what it was all about and why everyone wanted an invite to join. Now that I've been using it for a while, I really enjoy having all the links of things I saved so readily available and easily seen. It's also fun to post my own cards on a board and get notifications every time someone else pins a card I have made. Lately, the cards that get the most pins are the ones made using the Teddy Bear Parade cartridge, so I figured I'd post another one here on my blog!

Even though you need to have patience when putting these cuts together because there are so many small pieces the end result is so adorable. I love all the accessories on the bears!

I also really like the Recollections paper I used as the layer because the blue circles remind me of water droplets, which works for a fishing bear. The sentiment is from Pink by Design's set called "Simply Everything," which was one of the first sets I purchased because of the variety. I think the phrase fits so well to make this card general enough for a special occasion or just as a note of encouragement.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Eatin' Eggs and Makin' Up For Lost Time

When I was a kid, I really didn't like eating eggs. Actually to be realistic, I didn't like eggs too much when I was a teenager either. I think it was my college years where I started enjoying an omelette once in a while, but I was really picky and liked being able to cook it by myself. It might've been hearing Gail Simmons on Top Chef talk about how she hates burnt, rubbery eggs that made me feel particular about how eggs are made! Nowadays, I feel as if I'm making up for lost time because there are days where I just crave eggs, and I don't feel better until I eat some.

Last year, I started hearing more about egg and potato frittatas. Though I haven't yet made a frittata, the mention of potato and eggs reminded me of eating potato and egg sandwiches as a kid because I didn't want the pastrami sandwiches my parents were eating when we went to the U.S. Open. Clearly, I didn't have much of a palate as a kid because I'm all for pastrami now even though I only eat it maybe once every few years. I figured it wouldn't hurt to make a potato and egg scramble. It's been maybe a year since I made it the first time, and it has ended up being one of our favorite and easiest dinners to have.

Basically, I just dice the peeled potatoes and cut the onions for prep. It's much easier doing this when old seasons of Top Chef are playing in the background, but that could just be my personal preference. Then I melt a bit of butter in a non-stick pan. We actually just purchased a new pan because our previous non-stick pan (Bialetti Aeternum Red Fry Pan) was worn down and started chipping (don't know if it was just due to age or because we didn't handle it properly). It lasted quite a long time since I've had it since my bridal shower in 2012; my Aunt Kathryn gave it to me and said it was good not to have all the chemicals in a non-stick pan. The new one we bought is the Orgreenic 12-Inch Fry Pan, which is also PTFE and PFOA free. It's ceramic nonstick, which helps in making dishes like this because it sticks when I use our stainless steel set. This pan says it doesn't require any oil, butter, or grease, but I wasn't sure if the potatoes would cook the same way without it so I used a little. 

After the little cubes of potato start to brown, it's time to throw in the onions. Howard and I prefer the onions to still have crunch to them. In the past, I used to dump it in at the same time, but the onions would sometimes burn because they were in there too long. I learned that it's best to just leave the items in there to cook a bit instead of constantly mixing it. 

Once the potatoes and onions are done in the way you prefer, dump in the scrambled eggs. I turn down the heat a bit once the eggs go in since they obviously cook a lot faster, and I want to avoid brown eggs! Now it's all done and ready to be eaten!

While most houses usually have bread on hand, we always have tortillas instead. I love them because they're a lot easier to store in the fridge or freezer because they're flat. I put some of the scramble on a tortilla and throw on some shredded cheese and salsa. That's all we need for flavor so that's why I don't add any salt or pepper to it. 

It's just so simple, but it's really something we enjoy eating! We've had it for brunch on Saturdays, but for some reason, it's so satisfying for dinner. Maybe it's because I know it's a quick and easy thing to cook with minimal prep, but it really does hit the spot.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tasty Treats

Since our vacation in Disney World, I feel as if I've just been hungry almost all the time minus the few days I was under the weather. My stomach definitely got used to eating a super light breakfast, an early lunch around 10:30-11:00am, an early dinner around 5:00pm, and then another meal later at night. It really wasn't TOO much because most of the time we split a counter service entree so that we wouldn't waste food or be too full to enjoy the attractions. Obviously, I don't have the luxury of eating the great meals here in NY. Plus, we're not on our feet all day long walking off the calories, so clearly I had to cut back, haha. Even so, I've still been enjoying FOOD and thought I'd share with you a few pictures of the things I've eaten!

This past week, Howard worked some overtime and handled a meeting with some fancy-shmancy execs that got some trays of sweet treats. When it was over, hubs so kindly thought of how much his wife enjoys brownies and chocolate chip cookies every once in a while and brought home these goodies! I didn't realize just how badly I was craving until he surprised me by taking the plate out of his bag. I actually hadn't eaten anything sugary that day, so it's a wonder I didn't crash earlier! Let me say that they were delicious, and yes, I did eat my brownie and cookie one after another.

Yesterday I mentioned that Howard also surprised me with some Sabra Sun Dried Tomato Hummus. It looks so strange in a picture like this, but it was beyond delicious. I baked some flour tortillas in the oven, so it definitely wasn't like the assortment of hummus at Boma with some lavosh on the side, but it definitely brought back those memories. We actually have the fixings for making our own hummus (chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, etc.), but I haven't yet attempted to use our Cuisinart. After thoroughly enjoying this, we will have to try it ourselves!

Today between morning service and Sunday School, we went to Simply Bakery to get a snack. I chose the turtle "bou," but it wasn't warm so I ended up eating my other choice, which was an apple roll for just $2. Though this too would've been much better if it were warm, it reminded me in the tiniest bit of Disney World and the tasty apple turnovers I've had from the old Main Street Bakery. It wasn't quite the same, of course, but the taste of apple goodness brought me back to our honeymoon.

Lastly, we quickly picked up some food for the "Malaysian restaurant in the tunnel" to bring home since we had to leave church early with my dad. I chose to have Pad Thai today, which I was happy about because I feel as if I haven't had it in a while.

Food really makes me a happy camper. Have you eaten anything tasty lately?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Dear Valentine

Howard and I never really celebrated Valentine's Day even when we were just dating. I think we made a bigger deal over "birthday week" than any of the holidays. So it wasn't that surprising that as we came across V-Day 2014, we didn't have anything special planned. The only thing is that we used the day as an excuse not to cook and order in food instead!

When Howard got home, he put the carton of eggs on the counter. I had asked him to pick some up after he got off the bus because we haven't had any since before our Disney trip, and I was definitely craving. He stood by the entrance and watched me wash the remaining dishes, and then when I looked at him, he nodded towards the counter. I turned around and saw that he had gotten Sabra Sun Dried Tomato Hummus! What a fabulous Valentine's Day surprise, haha. What's even better was that it was on sale for just $1.99 so that was even better! Who cares about flowers when your guy knows that you don't like receiving flowers and prefer food? Who cares about chocolate when your guy knows that you can get some after Valentine's Day super cheap and can give you mashed chickpeas instead? My guys knows me, and I love that he does!

We decided that we'd order from Goodfella's. Instead of ordering an entree, I chose to get two hero sandwiches because putting anything between bread makes me a happy camper. A shrimp parmigiana hero with chips and an eggplant parmigiana with waffle fries sounded super romantic to me. Howard's idea of romance was Shrimp Fra Diavlo on fettuccine. We eagerly watched the tracker on the site that let us know that the food was being made and then when was being delivered. Unfortunately, Goodfella's made a mistake somewhere as they completely forgot Howard's entree! We didn't notice it until 20 minutes later because I was in bed due to the start of a bad headache so we didn't eat right away. Thankfully, once I put some Chinese medicine on my forehead though, I started feeling better so it didn't ruin the night.

Howard had to call them to see what happened, and the guy who answered said he'd call the driver and let us know. We never got a call back, so hubs had to call once again, and they said they were waiting for the driver to return. In the meantime, I was waiting a bit because I didn't want to eat first. Hubs encouraged me to start so that I wouldn't feel sick by getting too hungry, but thankfully, after a few bites, his food arrived. It was actually a girl who delivered it instead of the guy who delivered my food. She apologized for the mistake. We're fairly easygoing people, so it didn't really ruin anything for us, but I admit that I was hoping they'd give like, extra bread or something to make up for the fact that we had to wait longer. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our food though and probably ate a few more bites than we should have because we were incredibly stuffed! It was delicious! We still have plenty of leftovers for today, so that's even better. While we ate, we started watching the last few episodes of Capture, which was a show on the CW last year loosely based on The Hunger Games. It was kind of an extremely odd competition, but it was highly entertaining for the two of us to watch together because we joke about a lot of things. When we finally got up to the last episode, I was so high-strung because I wanted a particular team to win, and win they did! I threw my arms up in the air and rejoiced!  Haha, it was just some great Valentine's Day entertainment.

Unlike our other Saturdays, we both didn't wake up until 11am since we had stayed up past our regular bedtime to finish the 3 episodes in the season. Since we were starving, I cut up some flour tortillas and baked them in the oven to crisp them up so that we could eat the hummus. It too was absolutely delicious! What a great V-Day treat! 

But I guess you still need some sort of dessert or chocolate treat for the holiday. Thankfully, my dad passed by our apartment after driving my brother and sister-in-law home from her Lasik procedure, and he dropped off a piece of chocolate mousse cake for us. Yay! This turned out to be a great unplanned Valentine's weekend. Food is definitely the way to my heart!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Oh, How I Love the Word FREE!

When I was still living at home, my younger brother used to be able to order things from Amazon, which really weirded my parents and me out because um, he didn't have a credit card. How in the world was he able to get items if he had no way to charge his purchases? He told us that he was able to get free gift cards online, I think, from Swagbucks. Stupidly, I didn't jump on the Swagbucks bandwagon until recently.

A crafting/couponing friend had mentioned that she prints out her coupons through Swagbucks since it's the same ones that are offered via I looked into it and figured that I might as well get some SB since I use coupons. Then I saw that I could answer a Daily Poll question for another and input codes to get a few more. It wasn't really a big thing, but I thought that eventually the SB might build up.

When I finally realized how easy it was to really rack them just by watching videos on my computer and on my phone, I started accumulating them so much faster. Within a short period of time, I had 2500 SB, which meant I could exchange it for a $25 gift card or gift code. I could have chosen a reward much sooner than that, but I had one thing in mind. Initially, I was going to get some CVS gift cards to help with couponing, but then I ended up getting super stocked up with non-perishables, so I didn't need it anymore. Instead, I wanted an iTunes gift card to purchase a season of Top Chef! I got the code 7 days after I requested (they may take up to 10 days), and I just input the code into my account and was able to purchase Top Chef season 4! Howard and I definitely enjoy watching it as we already have the first 3 seasons after using gift cards from my students and actually paying out of pocket. Now that we have bills to pay, it just didn't make sense to pay that much for something we didn't need, so SB was definitely the way to go.

Within a month, I earned another 2500 to request yet another iTunes gift card! I'm currently waiting for the code to get another season of Top Chef. After watching the episodes with hubs, I like turning them on in the background as I do dishes, hang up laundry, or cook dinner. I just enjoy them so much, so I definitely watch them over and over to make it worth it.

The more practical thing would be to actually get Target gift cards so I can purchase groceries or restaurant ones so that Howard and I can have a date night or something. There are just so many options! I mean, they even offer Bath & Body Works gift cards, so I could definitely get some more candles if I wanted to, haha. I know there are people who actually use their codes for PayPal and use it to pay their bills! I mean, here are just SOME of the options for gift cards, and they're offered in different denominations too.

I went into all of this for two reasons:

  1. I think it's worth it for you to join and earn SB even if it takes you a bit longer to accumulate them. Of course, I'm home now so I can actually leave my home computer on and my phone on to have videos playing so that's probably why I can get them so quickly. Whether you use the SB to get gift cards for necessities or use it for fun things like gifts for others or even yourself, why not get them? I use other apps on my iPhone that I've mentioned before like Ibotta, shopkick, and Receipt Hog, but this is the one that works faster in getting rewards. 
  2. Clearly, there's a benefit for me if you sign up now using my referral code below. Swagbucks is offering new members 50 extra SBs if they input the code "FreeGiftCards," but I would also hugely benefit. If anyone signs up from January 21 through February 25 this year using my referral link below, I get 10% of most of what you earn for life. Howard finally signed up, and so far I've been getting an extra 10-15 SB a day because of what he earns. 

Whether you've heard about it before or this is your first time reading about it, consider signing up even out of curiosity to see what it's all about. If you want, I can email you and let you know what I focus on to earn on average 150 SB per day. Even if you only earned 50 per day as you first start out just from letting Swagbucks TV Mobile run on your phone, in just a little over a week, you'd have enough to get a $5 gift card to Target, and with all the craziness going on there with personal information being stolen, paying in gift cards seems like the way to go! I think once you have enough for one card, you'll be hooked just like I am.

I know that it sounds too good to be true, and I just wasn't really into it when I first heard about it. Now that I actually got a gift card from it and used it, I can't help but think, "It's essentially FREE!" so of course I want it, haha. Remember my "It's free; I can't leave it in the store!" policy? It applies for things online too!