Friday, December 31, 2010

Auld Lang Syne....

I can't say I'm too sad to see 2010 go.  New Year's is one of my favorite times.  I like how everything switches over and you can kind of forget about all the sucky things that happened in the year before.  That being said, 2010 was a pretty good year for us here at the Brown household.  Here are some of our highlights:

 This is a biggie....we got married.  May 15, 2010 was an especially good day for the Browns!  Our ceremony only lasted like 10 minutes and luckily for us it was the only 10 minutes of the day that it didn't rain.

 We went on a few vacations.  Unfortunately KB wasn't able to take that much time off of work when we got married, so we never really went on a honeymoon.  Good for me, like 3 weeks later I went to the beach with my family and some special people (holla Skinny and her photog skills).

 We added this little guy to our family.  Pancho has turned out to be a really sweet, sometimes crazy guy and I'm not sure what I would do without him.  He is definitely a super fabulous mamma's boy.

 My little KB had a big year.  Early last year he got transferred to a new position at his company dealing with big people stuff like 401ks and retirements.  He also became the lead singer of a band in town (Mudcutt represent!) and caught a bunch of fish.

I had a pretty interesting year to say the least.  I've had 3 jobs this year, been unemployed once, lost 10 pounds, gained back like 20 and overall had a lot of smiles and laughter.

Bring it on 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Turtle Time

My crazy grandmother will only order our Christmas presents from the Land's End or LL Bean catalouges.  Every year the day after Thanksgiving (sometimes even before) she makes us "put in our order".  This year I was kind of at a loss for what I wanted, so I picked out some random shirts and things.  I wore my first one today and I am in L-O-V-E.

The Land's End Lightweight Cotton Modal Gathered Turtleneck (that's a mouthful)  is one of the best shirts I've ever owned.  It hits me just right, it's super soft, the turtle neck doesn't feel like it's strangling me and it's great for layering.  They also aren't that expensive.  Mine was only like $10 I think.  They also come in petite sizes for those vertically challenged like myself.  I'm definitely thinking about ordering quite a few more.  I promise, they look a lot less mom-ish (no disrespect to you mammas out there) than the picture shows.

It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Orange who...

Orange you glad you didn't say banana!

I am over run with oranges!  We got them in every stocking that we got this year (that's a total of 6) and every church treat bag (that's 4).  I don't really like oranges.  Do you have any good recipes that I could use them in?  I don't want them going to waste!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Whew am I glad that Christmas is over! Don't get me wrong, I love the holiday season, but I don't think I've ever been this ready for it to all be over.  I just want to go to work come home, cook dinner and be my boring self.

On a less Debbie Downer note, we did get some cool goodies for Christmas.

I've only used it a few times, but I already love it!  What are your favorite K Cups?  I got a promo code for two free boxes.

Yes, that is a food dehydrator.  Normal people use it to make delicious dried fruits and nuts.  KB uses it to dry his various and assorted wild game meats.  This is a companion gift to his book on how to make different types of jerky.

A Tom Tom.   Hopefully one day Verizon will get the iPhone and this will be obselete, but you never turn down good electronics.

A new lunch box!  I've only used it one day, but I already like it.  It fits a lot of things and it is waterproof.  Apparently it is made out of the same stuff that wetsuits are made out of.  KB likes to make fun of me and tell me I can take it snorkeling with me.

Of course we also made it home with lots of hunting supplies, jewelry, purses, clothes, shoes, etc.

What are some of your favorite gifts that you received?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wandering Wednesday

It's a weird day around here....

Today is my last day at work for the week so it feels like a Friday, but isn't....weird.

These went over like hotcakes at work.  There was nearly a fight for the last one and some people took 3 or 4.  You should definitely make them if you need to suck up to coworkers.

My darling little African friend K.Pool is back in the US of A!  She traveled all the way from Cape Verde and we're glad she made it!

I just became a member here.  If you're a nerd like I am, add me (REBrown).

This is not good.  I hate snow....especially at Christmas (I sound like such a grinch!).  

What Wednesday randoms have you gotten into today?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Time is Here

It's not really Christmas until the Green Giant has a "ho" off with Santa!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Reading Year in Review...

I got the idea for this from a fellow Rachel, at In No Simple Language.  I used to be a big reader, but in college I was forced to read lots of things that I didn't want to and I kinda dropped off the bandwagon.  This year I vowed to get back into reading.  I got a library card and went to town.  Here are the books that I read this year.

The Twilight Saga.  Yes, I'm one of those.  Through all the hype I vowed that I would never get sucked into it, but then my mother in law gave me the movies to watch.  After that, I was hooked on the books.  I read all four of them in a week (true I was at the beach and had nothing better to do).  I can't wait to see the newest movie.  Yes, I'm a nerd.

I'm normally not a big fan of historical fiction, but this book ended up being pretty decent.  It's set in the time of the plague, but most of the story is about how it affects the lives of a group of people in a town that is ravaged by the plague, but agrees to shut themselves off from the outside world in order to not spread the disease.

I absolutely hated it.  This was one of the worst books I think I have ever read.  I hated it so much that I did a whole post about it.  I'll probably never read another one of Elizabeth Gilbert's books again!

I got this from the library on a whim.  It took me forever to read, but it was really interesting.  I've always like Elvis and Priscilla and this book really made me sad to see how bad they really were for each other. 

This book was a really quick read, but it didn't really have much substance.  It's basically just like The Devil Wears Prada, but with more women.  I ended up reading this in about a week of reading for about 15-20 minutes a night.

I actually read most of this book in Spanish.  I went back and read it in English this time and I really loved it.  It got started a little slow, but once I got into it, I couldn't put it down.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of my favorite authors and I had forgotten how great he was until this year.  This is probably one of my favorite books I read all year.

I just finished this book and it was ok.  It wasn't the best book I've ever read, but it also wasn't the worst.  It was really slow getting into this book.  The first 250 pages were a little boring, but once I got into it, the rest of the story went really fast.  I'm a little surprised that this book got as much hype as it did.

I ended up liking this book a lot.  I feel like you kinda need a background into Motley Crue to really get a lot of it, but where else are you going to get a book that has chapters titled "The Third Time I Died".

I actually only picked this book up because it was written about girls from my college's rival, but it ended up being pretty interesting.  Every now and then it's nice to read some non-fiction, scientific stuff.  It is pretty easy to read because most of it is taken from conversations.

I'm currently reading this book now.  It's technically a "young-adult" book, but so far it is pretty good.  It's very easy to read and really goes into detail about a leper colony on a deserted island in Hawaii.  I'm only a few chapters in, but so far so good.

I just picked up this book yesterday, but I'm excited to get started on it.  All the reviews seem to suggest that it is really good.  I really have no background with Catherine de Medici, but the book jacket made it seem really interesting.  If you've read it...let me know what you thought!

What kinds of goodies have you read this year?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Menu Sunday

This week's menu is tres boring. Last week was a really crazy work week for me, so I ended up not cooking for most of it.

Mon: Chicken and Rice from two weeks ago
          I'm a lamo.

Tues: Cauliflower stew stuff from last week
           Even bigger lamo.

Wed: My lovely little African friend K.Pool is coming home from the Peace Corps! KB will be fending for       himself this night because I will be with some lovely ladies I haven't seen in too long.

Bonus Recipes: We're chock full of bonus recipes this week...

Fruitcake Bars
My dad is a big fan of fruitcake.  I don't think anyone else in the world is.  These bars promise to be like a more refined version of the nasty candied, jellied fruitcakes.

French Chocolate Bark
Ina is my homegirl.  I made this last year and it was delicious.  I'm using dark chocolate, dried cranberries, dried apricots, and cashews.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark
I'll also be doing a layer of white chocolate as well.  KB is a big peppermint bark fan and has been bugging me about it for a while.

Cocoa Blocks
These are for my coworkers and I'm a little nervous.  The recipe calls for heavy cream, but our podunk grocery store only carries whipping cream.  We'll see how they turn out.

I'm also on the lookout for a good adult bev for my parent's christmas.  We have a ton of random, half empty bottles of weird liquor and I'd like to use those up, but so far I haven't really found anything.  Can you make anything with coconut vodka, peppermint schnapps, dark rum or sweet tea vodka?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What's that Noise...

This is what the Browns (mostly me since KB has working all the time) have been listening to this week:

I love the cheesy James Bond feel of these guys.

Why do British rappers always seem so much classier than ours.

An oldie, but a goodie. Last week when I was sick KB kept singing this song to me. We've been listening to it ever since.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cocoa Blocks

I never really know what to give my coworkers for Christmas.  I like them, I spend most of my time with them, but it always feels weird giving them legit gifts.  I've been looking for some "handmade" gifts that I can make them this year and I think I've found it.

Cocoa Blocks!

These look so neat.  It's basically just a big block of hot cocoa.  You just swirl the block in a mug of warm milk and cocoa.  I've also found a Cappuccino version.  They look a little advanced, but I think I can handle it.  I've read a few reviews and also found some neat ideas for packaging them, like adding a big marshmallow to the top of the skewer or rolling them in crushed candy canes.

I may just make some for myself!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Guilty Pleasure

When I saw this on Netflix the other day I just couldn't stop myself.

This combines all things that I love.....cheesy 80s metal.....Mark Wahlberg.....guys with long and crazy hair....crazy 80s groupie clothes....leather pants.....Zakk Wylde (if you don't know him you should)...and KB.

Now even though KB isn't in this movie, if it was up to him and not our bank account, future mortgage, kids, job, etc, he would be a member of a rockin' 80s band like Steel Dragon instead of working as a 401k investor.  I often wake up to him doing his 80s frontman screech and catch him doing his Axl Rose dance while waiting in line for something.  I'm just waiting on the day he wears a pair of leather pants and a jacket with no shirt!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Puppy Goodies...

Yesterday was all snowy and nasty so Rosie, Panchy and I decided that we would make some goodies.  My good friend Betty Crocker didn't let me down with her recipe for Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Puppy Treats.

These were seriously really easy.  I made a few substitutions because my podunk grocery store doesn't carry brown rice flour and I am really bad at rolling out dough.  I used whole wheat flour and just patted them out into cookies.  They aren't as pretty as the cute dog shaped ones Betty made, but I don't think Rose and Panch cared.

Here are my precious little ones waiting patiently for their goodies.

They ate them so fast that I couldn't snap a pic of the actual eating, but Rosie came back for seconds...and thirds.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Menu Sunday...

This weeks menu is a little lamo.  I didn't really cook that much last week, so a lot of the recipes are repeats from last week.  Enjoy!

Mon: Mexican Chicken Stew from last week.
          I'm lame and lazy and didn't cook it last week.

Tues: Chicken and Rice
          Once again, I'm lame.

Wed: Chipotle Chicken Panini from the Hungry Girl
          The link for this recipe is not working, but basically it is a healthy redo of a Panera panini.  I'll be using regular cheese instead of lowfat string cheese.

Thurs: Cauliflower and Chick Pea Stew
           This is our meatless meal for the week.  I'm a big cauliflower fan and I think this looks delicious.  It sort of reminds me of a curry, so I may throw a little curry powder in there too.

Fri: Easy Crock Pot Spaghetti
      I have a feeling by the end of this week I'll need a crock pot recipe where I don't really have to do anything.  I heart spaghetti!

Bonus Recipe:

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Doggie Treats
It's snowing today and I don't feel like doing anything so I'll be making these for Rosie and Panchy.  I'm sure they won't complain...I caught Pancho eating yellow snow this morning!

What goodies will you be eating this week?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

We finally have our tree up after KB almost knocked it over, the dogs stealing the tree scraps and KB giving up and bringing an old timy rusty serial killer saw in our living room.  Each year my grandmother gives us an ornament to commemorate that year.  Here are some of my favorites:

 Our tree!  Please ignore the dog toy at the bottom.  It's Pancho's boa and he doesn't like for it to be moved from his area.

 My first ornament....woop wooop Christmas '87.
 I had a slight Beatles obsession at one point in my life.  The propellers on the back actually work.

 KB is a big dart fan.  His frat house inherited a dart board at one point and he became the dart champion.

 Santa fisherman.  True, KB is not a big fly fisher, but this Santa is pretty cool anyway.  My grandmother also likes to refer to this as the "homeless Santa".

 Our little snowmen.  KB put these on the tree and wanted to situate his where it looked like he was sitting in the tree instead of hanging to commemorate KB in a tree stand.  What a nerd.

 This is one of my favorite ornaments.  For much of my childhood I was obsessed with teddy bears.  It's a bear made out of smore parts...too cute.
Reppin' mine and KB's alma mater.  We actually have more UNC ornaments than any others, weird considering neither me or KB are really big sports fans and that's all that most people know UNC for.

What are some of your favorite ornaments?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Can't a Girl Get Some Christmas Tunes...

Being an advertising major I heart really good commercials in a weird way.  Being a scrooge, I hate Christmas music.

For once in my life, Verizon has actually done something good.  I'm in love with their new Christmas commercials.  They have these great remixes of Christmas songs with "real" songs.  I've been scouring the Internetz trying to find these songs and, of course, Verizon isn't budging.

So for now, I'll just have to get by on these crappy YouTube versions.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'll be back....

Just like the terminator, I'll be back....

This week has been a smidge stressful with work, work christmas party, decorating our house for christmas, addressing christmas cards, christmas party for one of my work clients, forgetting my keys 45 minutes away, entertaining my in-laws, dealing with -6 temperatures and our house being freezing and on top of it all....

My head has been stopped up all week, my nose has bled three times and now I have no voice.

Whine fest is oficially on!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ode to the Crocodile

In the winter (and sometimes in the summer too) my skin resembles that of a crocodile.  I get scaly, dry, itchy, nasty.  This past summer when my eczema started acting up (this is a completely other long story about my bout with eczema that ends with  my nieces calling me Aunt Eczy) I found a savior.

Eucerin I love you!  This past summer when my skin was dry from all the sun and sand I found Eucerin Intensive Repair Lotion.

This stuff is the best for reptiles like myself.  It has a little bit of grit for exfoliation, but it also moisturizes very well.  It's the perfect everyday lotion and it isn't too greasy.  I've tried LOTS of lotions and this one is probably my favorite.

This winter has been a whole different story.  Since around October my skin has been so dry that it has been flaking off (gross I know).  Luckily, I found this little guy:

Eucerin Auaphor Healing Ointment.  It sounds scary and if you don't have dry as the sahara skin it kinda is.  This is basically vasoline with lots of good things in it.  It's really thick and goopy and I love it.  I've actually also found that it is great as a lip balm as well as general lotion for my face and body.  I know that somewhere my greasy sister is cringing as I tell people how I'm pretty much putting vasoline on my face!

These even worked today in the 6 degree snowy weather with 25 MPH winds!  What are your favorite lotiony products?

Please know that Eucerin did not give me any of these products, but if the folks at Eucerin would like to throw some my way I'm not going to stop them!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Menu Sunday...

Here's what the Browns will be noshing this week:

Mon: Mexican Chicken Stew
         I love soup in every form.  This one looks a little weird.  It has sweet potatoes with mexican things, but who knows!

Tues: Work Christmas Party!
          We'll be feasting on goodies from here.  We've actually never been to LAB before, but I've heard lots of good things about it and we're getting free beer steins with our company logo on them.

Wed: Hoisin Pork Stir Fry
         I have a bottle of Hoisin sauce from a recipe I made a few months ago.  When else am I going to use Hoisin sauce, so I thought I'd give this a try.

Thurs: Slow Cooker Beef and Rice Soup
          Once again, I have a slight obsession with soup and my slow cooker.  The recipe calls for using a whole roast, but I will be using stew beef.  It was a lot cheaper and I don't want to have to deal with cooking that much meat.

Fri: Baked Chicken and Rice
      This recipe looks good, but it also doesn't have that many super fresh ingredients that might go bad if I push it back to next week.  Most of the time sometimes I get lazy on fridays.

What goodies will you be eating on this week?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Yes Kermit, It is Easy Being Green

I'm not a crazy environmentalist, but I do love me some mother earth.  This holiday season, KB and I are tasking ourselves with being as green as possible.  I feel like we already do more than regular people do when it comes to being green.  This is mostly because I'm a tightwad and I don't want to pay for things like:

I don't use my dryer.....hardly ever.  I always hang things on my clothes line.  It is supposed to snow this afternoon.....and I have clothes on my line.  I noticed this summer that our power bills were way low, I'm convinced this is why.

Recycling!  I love it.  We generate about a bag of trash every 2-3 weeks.  If it can be recycled, I do.  I haven't bought trash bags in over a year.  Our lovely town does not offer trash pickup, so we do have to sort and take off our recycling, but I love seeing all those bottle and cans and papers going into their respective bins (woah I'm a nerd).

CFL light bulbs might look weird, but they last forever.  Luckily for us, our power company had a promotion where they would give you 10 CFL light bulbs if you just called them up and asked for them.  I was all over that and I haven't bought or had to change a light bulb since last winter.

Composting is the best.  Everything that is biodegradable goes outside.  From vegetable scraps to coffee grounds and filters to egg shells gets thrown outside in my little compost pile.  If you don't live in the great outdoors like we do, there are lots of compost bins.

I'm a thermostat nazi.  In the winter, it doesn't get above 68 and in the summer, it doesn't go below 79.  This might be a little extreme for most people, but we've learned to live with it.  In the winter, we just throw on sweatshirts and in the summer we strip down (ow ow!).  We've also learned little tricks to keep our house warm like circulating fans the opposite way to push warm air down from the ceiling, or leaving your oven door open after you're done cooking to heat up the house.

This holiday season the Browns are aiming for one bag of trash a month and to recycle all of our wrapping paper, etc.....Merry Christmas mother nature!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Barking Up A Storm

Last year I got really into bark.  Not the brown flavorless bark of trees (I'm not sure why I just assume it's flavorless....I've never tried tree bark!), but the deliciousness of confectionary barks.

At work last year one of our clients gave us boxes of Williams & Sonoma peppermint bark.  Growing up in a family where everyone except for me hated all things mint, I had never had it before.  After one bite, I became obsessed.  I ended up making my own for work parties, family parties, watching TV alone know.
After my peppermint bark turned out so delicious, I decided to try other barks. One of the best was this French Chocolate Bark from my homegirl Ina Garten.  I made it with dark chocolate, dried cranberries, dried apricots and almonds.  It was like the best candy bar I'd ever had....but better.
This year I'm on the hunt for Christmas barks again.  I've looked around, but I'm having a hard time finding something that would compare to last year's deliciousness.  I'm not a huge brittle fan, so that cuts out a lot.  I'm also not a huge white chocolate fan, so that outs alot.  Do you have a bark recipe that can top last year's?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Card

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