Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Remembering ...

I called my grandpa today to wish him a happy 86th birthday ... 86 years ... pretty impressive, huh? I couldn't help but be reminded of what we were doing on his birthday last year. Burying his son. His son. My uncle. My mom's younger brother. Uncle Randy was admitted to the hospital one month prior for a few complications. Things took a turn for the worse rather quickly, and soon his major organs started to shut down. We lost him on February 19th and buried him on February 24th. Here's how I remember my uncle:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Giveaway Update

Remember a few months ago when I won the first giveaway that I had ever entered? Jessica was offering free postcards courtesy of Well I promised that I would let you guys know what I came up with so ...

... ta-da!! What do you think? It scanned a little grainy, and got cut off on one side, but the actual product looks really great. We liked them so much that we ordered A LOT more, plus another postcard design that features only The Party Bus for the college crowd.

I'm clueless when it comes to Photoshop. This was all done in Publisher, so it was pretty simple to design. Before my next order, I think I'll put thin black borders around the top three photos to make it look better. That's the only thing that bothers me.

I can't say enough good things about Their prices are fantastic, the turn-around time is fast and the ordering process is easy. We've ordered so much from them since, that we've received six 16x20 canvas prints absolutely free. Can't wait to get them stretched and hung in the office. Thanks again Jessica and!

Bulk Buying

We recently got a Sam's Club membership, mainly for the limo business. My first shopping trip was pretty overwhelming ... that place is HUGE. My dad always used to shop there when we were growing up, but I had never been inside one myself. He used to come home with everything from a 50-pack of snack-sized chip bags to enough toilet paper to last us six months. We don't have that much storage space in our normal-sized house, so at first I wasn't sure if bulk buying was for us. But I was pleasantly surprised. Not everything is ginormous and there are quite a few good deals to be had. They even have one of my favorite wines for $3 cheaper than at HEB. Here is my most recent purchase:

A giant bag of Craisins. Leyla is there to emphasize how big this bag really is! And we will definitely eat all these before they go bad. I put them in my homemade granola, so we go through quite a bit. So exciting ... yea for saving money!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Will You Be Mine?

I had good intentions on posting this on Valentine's Day, but what can I say, life got in the way. Plus, it took me a while to get in the attic and find this little guy.

What is it, you ask? It's what Kent gave me for our first Valentine's together ten years ago. You squeeze him and he sings "What I Like About You" by The Romantics.

"What I like about you / you hold me tight / tell me I'm the only one wanna come over tonight, yeah."

Now, I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day and we don't celebrate it, but I hung onto this little Valentine mouse for sentimental reasons. I can still remember very clearly when Kent gave it to me. It was a couple of days before Valentine's Day. He picked me up in his black Dodge Stealth in front of my dorm, North Russell Hall, at Baylor University. I got in, gave him a kiss and expected him to start driving, but he didn't. He just sat there, looking at me. I waited a few seconds and then said, "What?" and he just smiled coyly back at me. I could tell that he was hiding something behind his back. Then he said, "I have a question for you." Then I got REALLY nervous, because I was afraid that he was going to ask me to marry him or something crazy. And that would have most certainly been crazy, considering that we had only been dating about three months, and I was only 18. But much to my relief, instead of pulling out a ring box, he pulled out this furry little mouse and asked, "Will you be my Valentine?" Of course, I thought he (Kent, not the mouse) was the cutest thing ever and agreed to be his Valentine. He probably took me to dinner and the whole nine yards on Valentine's Day, too, but I don't remember that ... just this cute little mouse!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Yummy Recipes - Meatballs with Mushroom Sauce over Smashed Sweet Potatoes

This favorite recipe came from Shape magazine, January 2004. This meal tastes so scrumptious that you won't believe that you're eating only 411 calories per serving!

Meatballs with Mushroom Sauce over Smashed Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes (2 large), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 4 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 lb. extra-lean ground sirloin (90-95% lean)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup sliced fresh wild mushrooms
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup sherry

To make the smashed potatoes, place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover. Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook 8 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add 2 tsp of the olive oil, 1/4 tsp of the salt and 1/4 tsp of the pepper and smash together with a fork until mixture is lumpy.

Meanwhile, to make meatballs, combine remaining salt and pepper with next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Form mixture into 16 2-inch meatballs. Heat remaining 2 tsp of the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs and sauté 5 minutes, until browned.

Add mushrooms and sauté 3 minutes, until tender and releasing juice. Add thyme and stir to coat. Add beef broth and simmer 3 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through.

Dissolve cornstarch in sherry and add to skillet. Simmer 1 minutes, until sauce thickens. Spoon smashed sweet potatoes onto individual plates and top with meatballs. Spoon mushroom sauce over top and serve. Enjoy!

Serves 4

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The sea of neverending books

I'm chairing the Gently Used Book Sale for the Seguin Education Foundation this year. It has been a lot of work, but Saturday is when it pays off. We have thousands upon thousands of books that have been donated by the community. The outpouring of support has been overwhelming! So if you are looking for a deal on some great books and want to help out the kids of Seguin ISD at the same time, come to the sale on Saturday! Here's the 411:

What: SEF Gently Used Book Sale

When: Saturday, February 6th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (There will be an Early Bird Sale Hour from 8 - 9 a.m. with a $5 fee for early admittance.)

Where: Seguin ISD’s Oak Park Mall (next to Handy Andy)

Why: All proceeds benefit the Foundation’s commitment to grants for innovative teaching in the Seguin ISD.

Other things to know: Hardbacks are $2 and paperbacks are $.50 with no limits for the purchaser. At 1:30 p.m. the “Great Book Giveaway” will begin. This is a one-hour event open to teachers and non-profit organizations with a valid ID. All items will be free.

Displays of favorite authors will include: James Patterson, John Grisham, Sandra Brown and more. Other popular categories include: children’s books, cookbooks, how-to and hobby books and VHS tapes (over 40 categories ... this is one organized book sale!).

Here are some hard-working SEF directors sorting and categorizing the sea of neverending books: