Thursday, September 29, 2011

Top Ten: Fall TV Shows

Holy cow, people. I cannot keep up with Hulu. After what seemed like an eternity without television (which is mostly due to the fact that my TV still has rabbit ears), I am now overwhelmed with all the new and returning shows this fall. There are LITERALLY not enough hours in the day to watch them all!

So, here are my top ten this week.  Feel free to chime in, I would love to hear your faves!

1. Modern Family. Phil Dunphy. Enough said.

2. Parenthood. This is one of the most brilliant shows on TV right now. The characters seem so real and the storyline is fun and interesting. And the acting is right on.

3. Parks and Recreation. Oh my word, this show makes me laugh. It is such a fun, quirky cast of characters. It's like 22 minutes of pure entertainment. It really should get more attention.

4. Free Agents. This is a new one that just came out and even though they have only aired three episodes, I am really loving the chemistry between the two main characters. They are fun and witty and refreshing. I would recommend watching it if you get the chance.

5. Castle. I love this show so much. It is fun and sassy and creative and he is just darn charming. Did you know that you can actually purchase Rick Castle books on iBooks? I KNOW!

6. Pan Am. I watched the pilot episode on Sunday and thought that it has some big potential. Hopefully they won't mess it up with crazy plot lines and cliche characters. But so far, I'm staying hopeful!

7. The Middle. This is another show that flies under the radar but it seriously funny! I just love how real they keep things, like duct taping the dishwasher shut when they want to run it. Their kids are so very, very weird but the dynamics of the family just work.

8. The Office. I have tentatively listed this one because although I have been an avid fan for many years, I am skeptical of how well this show is going to work without Michael Scott. With that being said, I am still loving our favorite office misfits, even Dwight.

9. Up All Night. What do you get when you combine Christina Applegate, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph? Total awesomeness. It is just enough weird and different to be funny. Let's hope they keep it up!

10. College Football. This year is going to be amazing. Boomer Sooner, peeps!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Webcam for Seniors

You must watch this.

A couple things:

1. I love his monkey face.
2. I love his song, especially since he doesn't know the words.
3. I love her persistence and her gum. I want some gum now.
4. I love that he loves her hair...and other things.
5. I love that he thinks she is amazing at everything she does.

Don't you just want to hug them?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

FC Flasback: Becky and the Girl in the Gigantic Blue Dress

I found these pictures today. I love them so much, probably because I love my cousin Becky so much. And the dress. I adored the dress. I actually wish I still had it, you know, for my own girls someday. Not that I would want to try to squeeze into it or anything. That would just be weird.

I hope your Tuesday is this happy.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Hunt for the Perfect Dress

Hi Friends. It's Monday. How did that happen? Wasn't it just Friday? I don't understand. Anyway, I hope your weekend was wonderful in every possible way. Mine was. It was fantastic and filled with people I love. Does it get any better? I think not.

So, for the past two weekends, Claire, mom and I have gone dress shopping.  You know, shopping for the dress. The dress that puts all other dresses to shame. The dress that can define a moment and capture a lifetime. Or maybe it is define a lifetime and capture a moment. I don't know. Regardless, we are on the hunt for such a dress and as the MOH, my fluffing and pinning and straightening and cinching and oohing and ahhing duties are kicking into high gear.

Claire has been super. Truly. No diva moments or tantrums in the dressing room, which is a good thing because there is room for only one drama queen in this family and everyone knows that that's me. Obviously. No, Claire has been cool and calm and having a blast trying on all the dresses. She looks so incredibly stunning in them. In some ways it still seems surreal to me, my baby sister getting married. And yes, sometimes I even say things like "weren't you just 12 yesterday?" and "who do you think you are? Only grown ups get married."

Sometimes those things don't go over too well but it's okay, she has a very sparkly ring to comfort her.

Now I have been wedding dress shopping with many of my friends. It is so fun but it is also completely exhausting, especially for the dress-tryer-oner. (Is "oner" a word? I don't know.) There was a point yesterday when Claire was so tired I am sure she could have just sat down in that itty bitty dressing room full of tulle and other fluffy stuff and just fallen asleep. I don't blame her, it is nearly impossible to try on these dresses quickly and after five, you are ready to just buy the next dress you see.

Which thankfully she didn't because it was some heinous gauzy number that did nothing for her. NOTHING, I tell you.

So I have decided that an emergency supply kit is necessary on these trips. Things such as trail mix and water and gum and peppermints and a Red Bull, plus a picture of the fiancĂ©, are all needed to keep the motivation alive. And as the MOH, I will come prepared next time. The last thing we need on this pilgrimage to the altar is an unmotivated bride. I can do a lot of things but trying to get an apathetic sister into a dress that weighs more than she does is above my pay grade. Next time, we are going to do a shot of espresso, followed by a quick lap around the parking lot and Rocky theme music playing on the iPod. We have to face this head on if we are going to come out victorious.

Thankfully, Claire made it through yesterday's shopping beautifully, and although she found two that she loved, the hunt is back on to find the perfect dress. And if you have any tips out there for the bride or the older sister during this process, I would love to hear them. Wedding dress shopping is not for the faint of heart...or those with low blood sugar.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Recipe Round-Up: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

So, what are you up to tonight? Watching TV? Chasing children? Arguing with your treadmill?

Whatever it is, you should probably make these cupcakes. They make the world a better place. I promise. They are the incarnation of everything we love about fall: pumpkin, maple, cinnamon, nutmeg and love. Lots of love.

And who doesn't need more love, right?

Start with the good stuff: sugar and butter.

Mix them up until they look like that.

Add two eggs and mix again.

Next up: pumpkin. Canned pumpkin works perfectly!

And mix again.

Don't you love that color?

Next up: flour, salt...

baking powder and baking soda...

cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.

Spices of heaven, that's what they are.

Alternate the flour mixture...

...with milk and mix until fluffy.

Grab a spoon or an ice cream scoop and fill up your cupcake pan.

Ice cream scoops help make each cupcake the same size.  Genius, I know.

Now, while they are baking, whip up your maple cream cheese frosting. I would have taken pictures of this process but the sun went down and I lost my lighting. Stinking hands of time. But all you do is add cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and maple extract and you are good to go!

Once your cupcakes are baked and cooled, pile on the icing! I sprinkled just a hint of cinnamon on mine.

Oh man.


Welcome to Fall, everyone!

Pumpkin Cupcakes
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar

2 eggs, beaten until frothy
1 cup mashed cooked or canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk

Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into a bowl. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs. Blend in mashed pumpkin. Stir in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, blending until batter is smooth after each addition. Spoon batter into well-greased and floured or paper-lined muffin pan cups. Fill about 2/3 full. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Makes about 24 cupcakes.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 - 1 1/2 lbs powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of maple extract (or 1/4 cup pure maple syrup)
pinch of salt (optional)

Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix slowly. Add maple extract and mix. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes. Inhale.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Walk for Natalie

This past weekend, in the midst of chocolate tasting and football watching and dress shopping (sounds brutal, right?), I hung out with my fabulous college friend Mandy. (Word up, Mandy!) She and I don't get together too often, but when we do it is awesome because we both have an undying devotion to peanut butter and chocolate. And cream cheese frosting.

But this weekend our time was even more special because it was in honor of a sweet girl named Natalie.

Mandy and Natalie's mom are in MOPS together and at the end of July, Natalie was diagnosed with brain cancer. I have followed her story through twitter and Caringbridge and have laughed and cried right along with them. She is the sweetest little girl and it has been amazing to watch her parents (and Natalie's twin brother) walk this journey together. Their faith is inspiring.

This past Saturday some of the other MOPS moms held a fundraising walk for Natalie and Mandy invited me to join them!

A lot of people came out to walk for Natalie. It was really quite special.

This is Mandy's crew: James, Katie and Shawn. I love those three!

Natalie's mom, Sarah, is the one on the left.

Here is sweet Natalie walking with Sarah. Her twin brother Evan is being carried in front of them.

Natalie loved her walk!

There were prayer markers all along the path. Natalie is currently recovering from two brain surgeries and is now in the middle of radiation.

Even though I don't know Natalie and her family, it has been such a privilege praying for them!

Here is Katie Jane eating a cupcake. She is a girl after my own heart.

Sweet Katie.

And here is Katie's little brother Shawn. Umm...yes. I could eat him.

Is that wrong?

And here is Mandy, a.k.a. Super Mom.

Mandy's sister Steph helped organize the entire event. Nicely done.

And here are Natalie and her brother Evan. Seriously, such sweet kiddos. I had such a blast being a part of this event. And from what I heard that morning, already $4,000 had been raised to help with medical expenses. That is amazing!

And then afterward, I went to Mandy's house where I ate peanut butter pie. It changed my life.

The End.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Inside Out

I put my spanx on inside out. Not really comfortable at all.

So, you know, TGIF.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Here is a scene from last night's dinner table:

Carr:  "Hey Sarah, would you like to sing at our wedding?"  Claire looks at him and shakes her head.

Me: "Ummm, no."

Carr: "Why not?"

Me: "Because I don't like singing in public." (Read here for more information on this)

Carr: "Well, could you at least hum? We could use a hummer."

Me: "Oh, absolutely. I could definitley hum. How about Wind Beneath My Wings while you guys are lighting the unity candle.?"

Carr: "That would be amazing."

Yes, yes it would.

This wedding is going to be epic.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Wednesday Off

I woke up today thinking that I should definitely stay in bed until noon or somewhere around then.

 And I thought I absolutely must have a salted caramel mocha and watch "The Holiday" or something great and girly like that.

I also thought I should bake a lot of yummy things that include the words "pumpkin" and "chocolate" and "cookies." It's just that time, you know?

And I was certain that a nap or two would have to be in my immediate future, as in immediately.

That's what you do when Wednesdays roll around and the sky is cloudy and there is a coolness in the air. It's like the weather is screaming "Get back into bed, you poor girl!! You work too hard. You deserve to paint your toenails deep purple and have complete control over the remote. And besides, don't you have some catching up on Hulu to do, anyway?? Go ahead, go back to sleep. Wednesdays are made for sleeping."

Don't you hear it? I am pretty sure it is still screaming that at this very moment!

I love when the weather speaks to me. In the winter, it mostly tells me to sleep. In the summer, it begs me to eat more frozen yogurt. We so get each other.

But instead, I crawled out of bed, washed my hair and managed to put mascara on both of my eyes. It's just part of being an adult. A boring, responsible adult.

A boring, responsible, but EMPLOYED adult.

It is so completely overrated.

Except on payday.

I hope your Wednesday is full of salted caramel mochas! Go on, you deserve one.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

So Many Kinds of Wrong

Dear Claire,

Wedding planning is a lot of work. I am seeing that first-hand. But in an effort to make this as easy as possible, I am giving you a few examples of what NOT to make me wear:

I am not Lady Liberty.

Cats make me gag. 

Antlers are not my best look.

I don't do bows. Or lip rings.

I have no desire to be a beer wench.

I don't want to frighten children.

Thank you for understanding, little sis.

Your favorite MOH

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I have officially been asked to be Claire's Maid of Honor. I am very excited to fill this role because I couldn't imagine not standing by my sweet little baby sister on her big day. Besides, it pretty much gives me permission to voice all of my opinions, right?

So to start this process off right, I did a little research of what it takes to be MOH. It's a big deal, people! I have to fluff. A lot. I had the honor of fulfilling the MOH duties in Rachel's wedding. It was so much fun and I loved every minute of it, even if she did make me sing. But what I learned from the process is that it is an opportunity to love someone in a way that doesn't happen very often.

So here is the official guide to being a MOH:
  • Coordinate with the bridesmaids. This could include keeping them informed about fittings, pre-wedding parties, or anything else they need to know. No problem!
  • Host a shower with the help of the bridesmaids. This includes planning, setting up, and splitting the costs. Done and done.
  • Host, plan, and set up the bachelorette party with the help of the bridesmaids. Absolutely.
  • Pay for your wedding day attire. This includes your dress, jewelry, and shoes. The bridal party is responsible for purchasing their own attire; occasionally a very generous and thoughtful bride will purchase these items for you, but don’t bet the farm on it. Darn. I wish I had a farm.
  • Help the bride shop for wedding dresses, or at least offer. I am already making appointments.
  • Keep the groom’s ring during the wedding ceremony. I am going to need pockets in my dress.
  • Arrange the bride’s train at appropriate point in ceremony, if needed. I love to fluff.
  • Hold the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony vows. (Be sure to give it back before she trots back up the aisle!) Did they really just say "trots?"  Claire doesn't trot.
  • Arrange the receiving line after the ceremony, if applicable. It will be like herding cats.
  • Sign the marriage license if needed. Easy enough.
  • Toast the bride and groom if given an opportunity-this could be at the rehearsal dinner or at the wedding reception. I live for public speaking.
  • Help where needed at reception; make sure bride has a chance to eat and drink something. I will follow her around with a Nalgene and a cupcake.
While most of these are standard procedures and can be performed quite easily, I am MOST EXCITED about this last little nugget:
  • Dance in the wedding party dance if applicable. Oh, HECK YES! This is awesome on every level. I never realized that I was supposed to be part of a coordinated effort of both rhythm and movement. It's like the favorite parts of my world (dressing up and dancing) are colliding together in one, big, coordinated extravaganza! I cannot wait for this. CANNOT WAIT.

Rehearsals start tonight.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


It happened...just like she always dreamed it would.

He asked...

She accepted...

And now they are even more blissfully happy than before.

These two practically drip love on everyone they meet.

Believe me, I know.

It was a very magical Labor Day.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Recipe Round-Up: Peanut Butter Strawberry Toast

This really isn't a recipe. No, it is more like something that women everywhere have made for hundreds of years and I am just now catching on. But somehow this has become my favorite snack. Seriously, I eat this everyday when I get home from work and right before my hypothetical work-out.

The toasty-ness of the bread and the peanut butter's creamy saltiness are perfect with sweet, ripe strawberries. It is pure magic!

Bread (toasted, I use Ezekiel's)
Peanut Butter (crunchy, I use Adam's Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter)
Strawberries (fresh, I use real ones grown in the dirt)

Revolutionary, I know!

But seriously, so so good.

Labor Day Weekend

Can you even believe that it is Labor Day Weekend? Where in the world did summer go? This always happens to me; I blink and summer is over.

I know for most of you the thought of cooler weather makes you want to throw on a turtleneck and bust out the pumpkin lattes. I get this because you probably have felt like you have LITERALLY LIVED ON THE SURFACE OF THE SUN for the past 10 weeks. I suppose that is one of the many reasons the good Lord created seasons; He would hate for us to internally combust year-round.

At this moment, I do not have any big plans for the weekend. Oh sure, sleeping in will definitely be on the agenda. And I think the Seester, Mama and I are going to have scones tomorrow morning and pretend we are in Ireland surrounded by ancient castles and listening to the obituaries on the radio. But the Taste of Colorado is getting ready to start and nothing screams "cheat day" like an entire festival dedicated to edible things on sticks. There will also be football. Obviously. And I may lay by the pool since it closes on Monday and sneak in a couple workouts just to keep the momentum going.

Speaking of which, the fitness challenge is well underway and I admit that I am doing great with not eating things like cheese fondue and monster cookies. I am feeling much better. However, I have been a bit lax on the working out part. I blame the small allergen that seems to have flown up my nose and multiplied by the thousands, leaving me a bit sniffly and achy and lethargic. Or perhaps that is also called Mononucleosis. I don't know. But I am trying to figure out how to get both things moving at the same time. I am not sure why this is so difficult to accomplish but apparently it must be like walking and chewing gum.

If you have any thoughts on this, I would highly appreciate it.

So, what are you doing this glorious three-day weekend (and for those of you in far away lands, this glorious two-day weekend)??

Having a cookout?

Making homemade ice cream? If so, please call me.

Going to the mountains?

Hiking? If so, please do not call me.

Riding your bike?

Watching the Sooners beat the snot out of Tulsa?

Having a baby? Wow! That would be eventful!

Whatever it is, I hope it is wonderful and perfect and cool. As in the temperature. And perhaps the vibe as well. Here's a glimpse of the Colorado sky out of my window. Totally blissful.

Live it up, my friends!