Monday, June 30, 2008

New Recipe

Traveling as much as I do I tend to make a lot of "snack sized" friends on flights. During the flight from Rome to Cinci I sat next to a gentleman named Howard. He was a very pleasant seat-mate. We chatted through meals and aside from that he was politely quiet.

One of the things we discussed was cooking and he shared a recipe that is a favorite in his family. He called it Salsa Chicken. Well, I tried it and added a few twists of my own and is yummy! I did the math and the dish is a bout 9 WW points and the salad I made to accompany it was another 3 points - still not bad for a hearty dinner! Click here to see the recipe.

Several years ago Chris made me this awesome cook book - Sara's Food Network. It has all of our favorite family recipes in the same format with little cards to give away etc. Well since then we've been stockpiling recipes to try and favorites, but I have not been diligent about adding them to the book. I've been trying to get caught up. As I go I have been putting my all time favorites here - so if you're interested....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rome Adventure

I told you I'd be busy, didn't I?

So let me give you the full scoop. I wanted to DO something with John for his birthday this year. Three years ago we went to Seattle together for a week and had such an amazing time, I wanted to recreate that, only bigger.

The original plan was to go to NYC, but John had finals and it just didn't work out. Then I started looking at how pricey just one weekend was going to be and I started to think bigger. We threw around a few ideas and John decided on Cozumel, but I had just been there. Plus that isn't really so far from Florida. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted something bigger. I brought up the idea of Rome, John is an Art History major, so Rome is like a mecca. I've been there once before and loved it. So, it was finally decided.

Mom and I started looking for hotels or hostels, but it's so tough to know what you're getting into. My friend Fabio is back in Italy and he seems to have tons of connections, especially since he is Roman by birth, so I contacted him for advice. His response was amazing - you don't need a hotel, I am in Rome....we worked out all the details and he has invited us to stay in his home and will even pick us up at the airport. Even though he is Roman he hasn't done much "touristing" in his own city, so I think he may join us some as well. I am stoked!

John has been planning, creating lists and slowly getting excited. He has started a travel blog for the trip which you can view here. John flies into Cinci tomorrow morning and will hang out with us for the day. Then, at 7:30pm EST we take off for Rome, most likely in first class seats baby!

I'll be out of touch for a few days while we do as the Romans do, but I'll be checking email etc. so keep in touch and check the blog for details.

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Do

I got a new haircut.

I know it's super short, but I really like it, it's SOOO easy! Since life has been so insanely crazy lately that will be a very nice thing. I went to a different salon than usual, just because of time constraints, but I think I'm pleased.

What do you think?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Time to Move On

We've been talking for months about moving to Florida. It's become a reality.

Chris met me in Orlando this past week and we spent a couple of days looking at rental homes and apartments. We found an apartment that we really like that is a good distance from both family and work as well as shopping since it's only one exit from Waterford Lakes. It would be a three bedroom with around 1100 sq ft, they accept Roger, we can hook up our own W/D and it's right in our price range.

We didn't have so much luck with the houses. There were plenty in our price range but they most of the owners/realators just didn't call us was really frusrating. We did look at a few but none of them felt like home.

We do have one option that might pan out. Some friends might have to relocate, but it depends on if he gets a promotion he's applied for. It sounds like a very good possibility, but it's all a big maybe right now. If it did work out it would be amazing, it's in a prime location, super nice inside and right in our price range.

For now we're planning on the apartment, but keeping our fingers crossed for the house. Either way though, we plan to have most of our belongings in Orlando by August 1st. Yay!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Travelin' Fool

Well, Chris and I had one whole day home together before Chris had to head right back off to work. Since he was leaving anyway, I decided to hitch a ride and I went back down to Otown.

My whole family drove North to Ocala to spend some time with my pseudo-family, the Pratts. We stayed the night on air mattresses and go an early start the next morning. All 11 of us drove even further North to the Ichetucknee Springs. We stopped for inner tubes and spent the day picinicing and floating down the springs. It was a lot of fun! It was great to spend time togethe again, it felt almost like a grown-up homeschool outing :)

The only advice I have is that if you're going to do this yourself, go early in the day. The later the day, the more people and the more stupid things we saw. For example, parents encouraging their young children to climb trees and jump off into the river, adults standing on tubes very close to others and trying to make the other fall down - very 2505 type of activity.

I have a few pictures from this weekend already, but we got a water camera to take with us too. The camera has mysteriously disappeared, but once it's found a developed, I'll add those as well.

Friday, June 6, 2008

West Coast Adventures

So we didn't make it to Paris, but it was just as well. I go a nasty allergy induced head cold that I am just now starting to ditch so I would have been miserable in Pari. We did have a good time in Seatlle though.

I have actually been all over the place lately.
First I to Orlando for one of our Family Gatherings and to see Prince Caspian on opening night. It wasn't bad by the way, just not true to the book. The book is always better, you know?

After Otown, I met up with Chris in Cinci where we hopped on a plane to San Francisco to see Jennifer (my sister-in-law) graduate from college. She finished up her B.A at St. Mary's College which is just outside of SanFran. Chris couldn't get the time off so he had to leave before the ceremony. I wound up staying with Jennifer for five nights and spent lots of time with her. I'd never really spent any time alone with her so it was a neat opportunity, we had a good time. Though it was really weird being in a college atmosphere again. We did all sorts of site seeing and spending time with other family that was in town for the same reason. You can see all the fun pictures here.

From SanFran I hopped down to LA to meet up with my old internet buddy, Eddie and his new fiance Margaret. We did all the typical tourtist things and had fun trying to find the illusive Hollywood sign and ate good food. He was an amazing host and had all sorts of little details in place to make me feel uber welcome. Pictures from LA are here.

From LA I went back up the coast to Seattle where I took a bus out to Mount Vernon to hang out with some of my new cousin-in-laws and aunt-in-law. I played with the kids, got a tour of the farm and just had a general good time. I stayed with Debbie and her family who's lives are just non-stop. I just tagged along for the ride and while I had a fabulous time and really respect Debbie for handling it all so well, I gotta say that it just reinforced that I am definitely not ready for that stage in life yet.

I spent a lot of time with Aunt Judy learning about the Utley family history, looking at old pictures and hearing about my newly acquired ancestors. It was really interesting, especially since it isn't something that Chris's family talks about a lot. Not that there are tons of skeletons or anything, just that it's not something they focus on, so most of the stories I heard were not only new to me, but new to Chris's family too.

Since I wasn't feeling so hot, instead of heading back to Cinci to meet up with Chris and head towards Paris, he came to Seattle to meet up with me. We stayed in his parents new house, saw some old friends and went back out to Mount Vernon to see family, while there Jen fed a cow and Chris fell in love with a kitten.. All the Mount Vernon pictures are here.