Wednesday, September 30, 2009

If you really want to be depressed, weigh yourself in grams.
Jason Love

I've been on the bandwagon for a while but this is my first official "Weight Watchers Wednesdays" with fellow bloggers.

This week (I weighed in the morning) I'm doing what I do best, maintaining. Which will be great when I've lost the weight I want but for now, I'm just hanging out. Oh well it is better than gaining, right?! At this point, I'm down just under five pounds but looking to get off about 10 or 15 more.

Here's my favorite recipe from this week. It is perfect for this cooler weather! It makes an awesome, comfort-food style dish that reminds me of my mom's chicken and dumplings.

Smothered Buttermilk Chicken

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (you could use thighs instead)
3 medium carrots, sliced
1/3 cup onion,chopped
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
1 package roasted chicken gravy mix
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons flour
1 cup frozen peas

In a 4 to 6 quart crock pot, combine chicken, carrots, onion, water, butter, salt, pepper and bay leaf; mix well.

Cover; cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high setting for 3 to 4 hours.

About 20 minutes before serving, stir gravy mix into crock pot. Remove and discard bay leaf.

In a measuring cup, blend buttermilk and flour until smooth. Stir flour mixture and peas into chicken; mix well.

Cover, increase heat to high; cover and cook an additional 25-20 minutes or until peas are cooked.

Monday, September 28, 2009

No child should die in the dawn of life.
Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

I have special place in my heart for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. It is the national philanthropy for my sorority, Tri Delta, which has raised $9.1 million for the hospital since 1999.

Tri Delta Patient Care Floor of the Chili's Care Center at St. Jude

I had the chance to visit St. Jude in 2004 and I can promise you that it is a magical place!

A few quick facts about St. Jude:
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas in 1962, maintains 60 inpatient beds and treats about 230 patients each day. Since its opening, St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and more than 70 foreign countries.
  • St. Jude has approximately 4,900 patients in active status, most of whom are treated on an outpatient basis. It treats children without regard to race, religion, creed or ability to pay. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatments that are not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay.
  • Research findings and information discovered at St. Jude are freely shared with doctors and scientists all over the world. St. Jude also enjoys a worldwide reputation as a teaching facility. The medical and scientific staff publishes about 450 articles in academic journals each year.
  • The hospital's daily operating costs are approximately $1,216,247, which are primarily covered by public contributions.
  • Since its inception, St. Jude has developed protocols that have brought survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20% to more than 70% overall.
So today at all Chili's restaurants 100% of their profits will be donated directly to St. Jude. Nick and I are going to meet up with fellow Tri Delta, Sarah, and her friends to enjoy some chips and queso and support one of my favorite places.

I hope you do the same!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern
Sunday gratitude:
  • spending the day at Dancing in the Street in Grand Center.
  • the sun going down earlier and earlier on cooler and cooler evenings.
  • anything cooked for 6 hours in the Crock Pot.
  • toasted everything bagel with "schmear" on a Sunday morning.
  • big, new plastic storage containers for my summer clothes.

Friday, September 25, 2009

There are two kinds of people in the world:
those who love chocolate, and communists.

Leslie Moak Murray

Today I'm participating in Kelly's Korner with "Show Us Your Life." This week's topic is my favorite dessert recipe.

Now I may not be a fancy baker like Casey but I do have one, uncomplicated favorite that is made any time a dessert is in order. There are lots of specialty cookies and desserts out there but nothing gets eaten more than chocolate chip cookies.

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
From my grandma's long lost French relative Nesslay Tulhoos

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I usually do 2 1/2 cups, my mom does less)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate cips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.
Martin Luther

On Saturday, I joined my friend Sarah as her "date" to her sister's wedding in Illinois. Her boyfriend had another wedding that he was a groomsman in so instead of her going stag, I got to join the celebration!

Bride's bouquet

Chelsey in her dress, ready to go and excited!

Chelsey and Sarah with their mom

Pronounced husband and wife!

They stopped at a childhood-favorite ice cream stand

With my lovely date!

Dueling bridal parties at a prime photo spot.
Our bride was prettier. We won.

The ladies taking photos together.

And then my camera died. The end.

But wait, one last photo, they did have a super fun photo booth at the wedding!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A baseball park is the one place where a man's wife doesn't mind his getting excited over somebody else's curves.
Brendan Francis

On Friday night the Chicago Cubs were in town for the start of a three game series with the Cardinals. Nick's cousin is actually a trainer for the Cubs and graciously left us tickets at will call. We had the treat to sit in the Redbird Club section which made it special. Great food, great company, great seats and a great game - we won (although my mother was hoping I'd cheer for her Cubbies!).

Because, really, we can never take a nice picture in just one take.

Finally a cute one!

After the game

With our group - Nick's two friends from college and their wives.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern
Sunday gratitude:
  • watching a bride slip into her dress on her wedding day.
  • baseball games with Nick (even better when the tickets are free!).
  • pumpkin, candy corn and caramel apple displays the grocery store.
  • warm from the dryer, clean white sheets on the bed.
  • bowls of freshly sliced strawberries and radishes in the fridge.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

If God wanted women to understand men,
football would never have been created.

Roger Simon

Now that the fall season is underway by weekends tend to be a full-on combination of pro football (go Dolphins!), college football (go Huskers!), baseball (go Braves!), golf (go Zach Johnson!) and horse racing (go the-horse-I-bet-on!).

Needless to say, I'm all caught up on magazines, have been reading a lot of books, scrapbooking, etc. It's not that I don't like all of the sports, I just have a hard time getting into it.

But I will say a really fun thing we started doing recently is attending a St. Louis watch party for the Nebraska Huskers. They have three locations in the area for each game because the majority of the Husker games are on pay-per-view television. Like this week, it's on network television but the past two weeks it hasn't been. So if you don't want to pay to get the game, you can join in with other Husker fans and watch it together at a watch location.

It's so neat to walk into a place full of scarlet and cream clad Husker fans. They play the fight song over the sound system and there are constant eruptions of cheers and chants. I love it! The place we have gone most often also has really good food. With the nice weather it's lovely to sit out on the patio, have a delicious pizza and cheer for the Huskers!

The cutest Husker fan I know!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

There is, incidentally, no way of talking about
cats that enables one to come off as a sane person.

Dan Greenberg

This morning Bella was making a fuss at the back porch French doors. Meowing, pacing, paws up on the window.

"Whatcha doin' Bella-Bell-Bell? Are there birds out there mocking you?"

She just kept at it so I looked out the window on the kitchen door, onto the back porch, and saw this:

Makes you do a double take, right? That's Brittany. She is our next door neighbor/landlord's outside cat. She also eats the birds and gives me heart attacks when I see her creep across the backyard because I think it is Bella!

I've never seen her up on the porch this close. She just stared at me, then back at Bella probably wondering who this neurotic cat flipping out behind the glass was.

Then she moseyed on her way.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

There's just something about dance...
It's like a primal thing in all of us.

Patrick Swayze

I was so sad yesterday evening to learn of Patrick Swayze's death. I loved his movies of course but also ever interview I had watched with his, especially recently, just portrayed a good man. At least now he is at peace and in no pain.

No matter what I will always rock onto the balls of my feet when I hear the first few beats of I've Had the Time of My Life and think of hand thrown pottery when Unchained Melody plays.

...and of course you have to appreciate a man who would poke fun at himself too (or wear drag like in To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar)! This was my father's favorite:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern
Sunday gratitude:
  • warm sun and cool breezes during an evening outside.
  • seeing a commercial on TV that I helped to produce!
  • going to bed at 8:30 p.m. on a Saturday night. The long, lovely sleep was worth it!
  • thin crust pizza with pepperoni and sausage.
  • a mailbox filled with fresh new magazines with fall ideas.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

We make a living by what we get,
but we make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

I recently registered for the National Marrow Donor Program.

I had always thought about doing it but when I received "check this out" information from my sister-in-law's sister (did you follow that? It's Nick's brother's wife's sister) whose boyfriend has leukemia I felt a close connection to take the step. If I can do a few simple things and then have a sore back for a few days to help someone recover from a deadly illness, I'll do it.

After reading through the information it answered a lot of my questions. Be sure to check out the FAQ section which quickly addressed many of my concerns.

Here are some great myths and the real facts associated with bone marrow donation:

Bone marrow donation is painful.

General or regional anesthesia is always used for this procedure. Donors feel no needle injections and no pain during the marrow donation process. Afterwards, most donors feel some pain in the lower back for a few days or longer.


All bone marrow donations involve surgery.

There are two ways to donate. The majority of donations do not involve surgery. The patient's doctor most commonly requests a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation, which is non-surgical and outpatient. If the patient's doctor requests marrow, marrow donation is a surgical procedure, usually outpatient.

Pieces of bone are removed from the donor.

Pieces of bone are not removed from the donor.

In marrow donation, only the liquid marrow found inside the bones is collected. In a PBSC donation, cells are collected from the bloodstream in a process similar to donating plasma. For more details, see the steps of donation.

Donating bone marrow is dangerous and weakens the donor.

Though no medical procedure is without risk, there are rarely any long-term effects from donating. Only five percent or less of a donor's marrow is needed to save a life. After donation, the body replaces the donated marrow within four to six weeks.

The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), which operates the Be The Match RegistrySM, screens all donors carefully before they donate to ensure they are healthy and the procedure is safe for them. We also educate donors, answer questions every step of the way, and follow up with donors after donation.

Bone marrow donation involves a lengthy recovery process.

PBSC donors take the drug filgrastim for five days leading up to donation and may have symptoms such as headache, bone or muscle pain, nausea, insomnia or fatigue during this time. These symptoms nearly always disappear one or two days after donating, and the donor is back to normal.

Marrow donors can expect to feel fatigue, some soreness or pressure in their lower back and perhaps some discomfort walking. Marrow donors can expect to be back to work, school and other activities within one to seven days. The average time for all symptoms to disappear is 21 days.


Donors have to pay for the donation procedure.

Donors never pay for donating and are never paid to donate. All medical costs are paid by the patient's medical insurance or by the patient, sometimes with assistance from the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). The NMDP, which operates the Be The Match Registry, reimburses donors for travel costs, and may reimburse other costs on a case-by-case basis.

Although a donor never pays to donate, many people do contribute toward donor registration costs when they join the registry.

If you feel so compeled I would really encourage you to join the registry. It was very easy to do and perhaps it will be your donation that will save someone's life.

Friday, September 11, 2009

You can be sure that the American spirit will
prevail over this tragedy.

Colin Powell

Like I sure all of you did this morning, I took a moment to think about where I was and what I was doing this day eight years ago.

I also stopped to remember all of those lost and their families who are thinking about them today.

Today, we gather to be reassured that God hears the lamenting and bitter weeping of Mother America because so many of her children are no more.

Let us now seek that assurance in prayer for the healing of our grief stricken hearts, for the souls and sacred memory of those who have been lost.

Let us also pray for divine wisdom as our leaders consider the necessary actions for national security, wisdom of the grace of God that as we act, we not become the evil we deplore.

Rev. Nathan Baxter, Dean of Washington National Cathedral

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.
Clifton Paul Fadiman

I'm back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon (again) because, really, I need help! I have lots of happy-I'm-in-love pounds that need to go away pronto.

I'm continuing with swimming which is really going well. I think I've finally found an exercise routine with it that I can stick with. I just cannot do the gym thing so it's nice to get moving in a way I enjoy.

Whenever I'm watching what I'm eating, that means Nick is too because I do all of the grocery shopping and cooking. So of course, I lose 8 pounds and he loses 20! Lame.

Last night for dinner I made this great macaroni and cheese recipe with a side of steamed sugar snap peas (you have to have peas with mac 'n cheese!). It passed the husband test so I hope you enjoy it too!

Motz's Macaroni and Cheese

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni (regular or whole wheat)
  • 2 Tb reduced-fat butter or margarine
  • 1 Tb flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • ½ lb (2 cups or 8 oz) shredded 2% Sharp Cheddar
  • ½ of a small onion, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
Cook macaroni, drain, and set aside.

Melt butter or margarine in saucepan. Add onion, flour and then milk. Add salt. Heat on medium-high while stirring constantly. When mixture is at a rolling boil, add ¾ of the cheese. (save the other ¼ for the top.) Add the cheese a little bit at a time so it melts nice and soft. Also be sure to keep mixture at rolling boil while adding cheese or it may not melt correctly.

Put macaroni in large bowl or casserole dish (I used a square Le Creuset casserole dish). Pour cheese sauce over mixture; stir. Top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered in 400ยบ oven for 35-40 minutes.

Yields: 8 servings (5 Weight Watchers points per serving)

Serving size = Approximately 3/4 cup

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Random: lacking any definite plan or order or purpose
  • Had my first committee meeting as the chair in Junior League. It was exciting and it went really well!
  • The Bath & Body Works Wallflowers in my house now have Spiced Cider scent in honor of fall (hint, hint to the weather!).
  • My US Masters Swimming program moved into an indoor pool until May. I am so thankful because it is both warm (the water in the outside pool was freezing) and it is short course which is so much better too!
  • I'm really sad that here in the Midwest, no white after Labor Day really holds true. You could get away with it in Florida but I feel like here I have to say good bye to my beloved white skirts, shorts and capris until May.
  • Since Bella eats and pukes any live plant or flower in the house, I know how a vase of bright zinnias on my desk. They are delightful.
  • I'm slowly learning to love the St. Louis favorite, Imo's Pizza. I especially like their house salad with homemade dressing. Yum!
  • I was able to seeing some of the darling pictures of my sorority chapter's latest recruitment. They are doing such a good job, it's nice to see the traditions continue (although I feel old!).

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern
Sunday gratitude:
  • Going to our first St. Louisans for Nebraska watch party - a place full of Crimson and Creme with the fight song playing on the sound system!
  • Rain closing the golf course so Nick gets to come home early to me.
  • Pulling out my Halloween and fall decorations maybe a bit early, I'm ready for fall!
  • Finally booking flights and hotels for our one year anniversary trip - so excited!
  • Seeing a movie by myself for the first time. It really was a nice way to spend the afternoon (saw The Time Traveler's Wife, not as good as the book of course).

Friday, September 4, 2009

In Los Angeles, by the time you're 35,
you're older than most of the buildings.

Delia Ephron

I know a few of my followers and a few other blogs I read are women from the Los Angeles area. Whether you live there or have visited recently, I need your help!

My husband, Nick, and I will be in the Los Angeles area in November to see the Breeder's Cup at Santa Anita. All of the hotels around the race track are booked (Arcadia, Pasadena, Monrovia). Frankly, I wouldn't mind not staying out there but instead in a more interesting area of Los Angeles and then driving to the race track as needed (we'll have a rental car).

I've been to Los Angeles and stayed right in Hollywood so I've seen those sites. I would love to see some parts of the area while we're there in between horse racing (like I haven't seen Venice Beach or any of the coast).

Is there a hotel or a neighborhood you'd recommend for us to stay in?

What sites other than the general Lost Angeles stuff would you recommend we see?

I'm all about local or unique places or bed and breakfasts vs. just another Hampton Inn. This week long trip which includes a stint in Las Vegas to see Ashley and then back to Los Angeles for opening day at Hollwood Park (I have recommendations to stay in Santa Monica or Marina Del Ray then) is for our one year anniversary.

Funny how it is all tied to horse racing!?

I would so appreciate any ideas. Thanks so much!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I feel like I should make a speech... get back to work.
Roger Sterling, Mad Men

As many other people out there, one of my very favorite shows is Mad Men on AMC. I started watching it during the first season, and now with season three in full swing it is certainly still as delightful as ever.

Watching the show I am reminded that, really, I was born in the wrong era. I've always been an old soul so I just love the style and traditions of that time. I was meant to be wearing an a-line dress with pearls and dancing the Jitterbug with my husband!

Of course, I just had to Mad-Men-Yourself! I'm in the middle, on my way to work at Sterling Cooper, teehee!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The grass may be greener on the other side of the fence,
but you still have to mow it.

Reason number 437 why it is so nice to be a renter.

I pulled into the driveway last night after work and the whole lawn was freshly mowed, weed-eated and edged. All of the beds had a layer of fresh mulch and the big Honeysuckle in the front yard was neatly trimmed.

Sweet! It all looks so nice. The benefits of having a fabulous landlord who works for Monsanto.

Too bad we still have to have take care of the lawn service at our house in Florida. But at least where we are now does not involve me having to mow the grass!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I think pot should be legal. I don’t smoke it,
but I like the smell of it.

Andy Warhol

Yesterday here in St. Louis was glorious. Highs in the mid-70s during the day and sunny and cooler at night. We had all of the windows open in the house to let the cool breezes in (and save a little on electricity with the air off!).

I was doing my nails in the bathroom while Bella was sitting on top of the toilet. Watching of course. I watched her little nose twitch and sniff-sniff-sniff.



What does she smell? I did a little sniff too. Something. I stood up. Sniff.


Walked into the den. Back to the bathroom. What is that... smell? Sniff.

I walked into the living room where Nick was sitting working on his laptop. Bella hoped up on to the couch next to him.


I asked, "Do you smell that?"

"Yup," he repiled.

"Is that...," I responded.

"Pot," he answered bluntly.

My boring-nail-painting, monogrammed-robe-wearing mouth dropped. Nick just laughed. Bella just went... sniff-sniff-sniff.

We debated on which neighbor was enjoying a Monday night, well um, high. Votes from me went to the kitty-corner behind us neighbor that blares Led Zeppelin from his outdoor sound system on the weekends. Nick voted for the new neighbor next door who had all his tiki torches blazing on the back deck.

So the fabulous weather allowed fresh air into our home along with all of what our neighbors were up to as well. Either way, my house smelled like pot for a good hour.

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