Friday, March 26, 2010

Crash Into Reality

I had quite the scare yesterday. My ex-husband called to tell me that our son was in a car accident. Actually, to quote him scaring the hell out of me at work, he said: "You better buy a lottery ticket because YOUR son just got in a rollover accident and walked away." First, I love how he is MY son because he got in a car accident! But foremost - OH MY GOD. Can you say scare the freaking crap out of me? I didn't stop shaking til this morning. I cried and cried thinking of the WHAT IFs. Thankfully he is fine, the boy who was driving is fine, the truck isn't totalled and my son (who gets his license in 3 months) said "Mom, I ALWAYS wear my seatbelt." But what a slap of reality to realize that your kids are growing up and these things can and do happen. I have too many friends who have lost children to accidents. I have always said that we have been SO lucky that none of our kids have had any major accidents, sicknesses, diseases, anything! They've been so lucky - WE'VE been so lucky. This was a wake-up call. When my boys fight and beat on each other and name call, I want to rip my hair out and KILL them both....I think from now on I'm just going to enjoy the noise instead. The alternative is not an option I want to think about.

Have a great weekend everyone and hug your loved ones!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thai-m for a change....

I love Thai food. The hubs and I have a couple of Thai restaurants that we frequent but after dropping anywhere from $25 to $40 every time we go I got the idea that I could cook this stuff myself.

We found a great little Oriental store across the river...dirt cheap prices and aisles FILLED to the rim with various Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese offerings. Tofu is half the cost of the grocery store. Noodles are made from rice or wheat or whatever - NO ENRICHED anything. YAY! Our first trip there I purchased an entire bag full of goodies for less than $10.00. Jackpot!

One of my favorite Thai dishes is Mussaman Curry. I also love yellow curry (which I think tastes similar to Mussaman but what do I know). At the LOS (little Oriental store) I bought both the Mussaman and yellow curry powder/pastes. I followed the recipe, kind of, according to the directions - palm sugar (check), coconut milk (check). I did not use fish oil because I don't eat fish but I didn't think it would make that much of a difference since I ask my Thai restaurants to omit it. For whatever reason my version SUCKS. The yellow curry was SUPER HOT and SPICY but it was very bland and boring. There were no variations in flavor - it was all flatline HOT. I made it again last night and added some extra spices to both my curry and my tofu. I threw in some peanuts for additional taste and texture. Yep, still sucks. I have all this curry and now I'm all curried out. I got curried away I guess. Any ideas to make this tasty treat a tasty treat? I'm open to suggestions.

On a brighter note, tonight is the hub's turn to cook. He volunteered. I was pretty excited but then he mentioned an oven entree and I knew I was in for frozen pizza. Not quite what I had in mind especially since I'm trying to get in FIGHTING shape for this upcoming Mexico trip. I dropped a subtle hint (something like, "You are NOT making pizza for dinner") and I think he got it. He's heading to the store to get actual ingredients to cook. Much better - maybe some nice whole grain pasta with fire roasted tomatoes, mozzarella and cashews.

Speaking of fighting shape, my work-outs are going great. Sunday night I did an hour long Jackie Warner video. Monday morning I did the same video. Here it is Tuesday and I can't walk. Ah, the joy of exercise. I will push through the pain and do some type of aerobic/strength training tonight. Summer time is coming and shorts are calling my name. I'm determined to look good this summer! I can DO IT!

Monday, March 22, 2010

What A Weekend

Why does Monday come around so quickly? It seems I'm just starting to enjoy my weekend when BAM it's over!

Saturday my husband had to work so my youngest son and I sat around the house and did nothing. We had all these big plans to go and do, but we ended up going nowhere and doing nothing! It was kind of relaxing but at the same time I wish we had gotten some motivation. When you go from 60 degrees and sunshine on Friday to 3 inches of snow and 30 degrees on Saturday, it knocks the wind out of your sails and sits you on the couch again. I didn't even work out! But I did make pancakes in the morning. Priorities....

Saturday late afternoon definitely made up for the lack of anything that morning. My son went to his dad's house and when hubby got home from work we ran ran ran. We made some Goodwill and Salvation Army runs, went to Marshall's and TJ Maxx, Dick's Sporting Goods, Gander Mountain and finally Red Robin's for a nice gardenburger dinner, where we caught the tail end of Northern Iowa surprising the bejeezus out of Kansas! Our shopping mission was to find a nice backpack and water-type hiking sandals/shoes for me for our October trip to Yelapa, Mexico. We are going to go all-natural on this trip. No resort, no room service, no all you can eat buffet. Hell, there aren't even any walls, doors or windows where we are staying! We are packing 7 days and 6 nights worth of clothes and toiletries into backpacks! I'm so excited. We didn't find what I was looking for Saturday night but we did get some good bargains at the thrift stores. We decided that on Sunday we would make a quick run to our nearby outlet mall, about an hour away.

Sunday dawns, we get up and head out the door. I'm feeling optimistic about having my husband drive (at least back home) so I bring my book to read! That didn't happen but I did get a lot of reading in Sunday evening. I also got a lot of shopping done at the outlet mall--three pair of shoes, a couple of shirts for work and a new purse that I didn't need. I'm a sucker for a bargain. I must have that written across my forehead. When I hear DISCOUNT I already have my debit card out and poised to swipe!

I wish there were some discounts on travel right now. Tonight I'm booking the plane tickets and the 'condo' in Yelapa. I got my water sandals yesterday and I've narrowed down my backpack selection. We're ready to roll. But since I don't want to wish my summer away I think I'll just keep dreaming about the trip and enjoy the time until then.

I sent out two more books via I've already sent four that I'm waiting for credits to appear and then I'll have a total of seven credits! Seven more books to find, request and then add to my ever growing tbr pile! And I recently won another book from a different blog. I love giveaways! What's the best thing you've ever won?

Tonight I'm making tofu and sticky rice. I can't wait to get home and COOK! Got any recipes to share? I'm always looking for new vegetarian ideas!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Book Blogs

I am having so much fun perusing all the blogs looking for other book blogs (which I can't type propertly - I keep typing BOOB blogs which is probably a whole other realm of blogging).

I find that it is very difficult finding blogs of other readers who enjoy the same types of books that I do. However, it is very fun reading what others enjoy!

Today I visited one of my favorite blogs - All about (N) and lo and behold she had a comment posted by another blogger. I clicked on her link which took me to Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings.

She has a giveaway for March. And three out of the four books are on my MUST read list. Being the book nerd that I am I have an entire notebook filled with books that I have read, books that I want to read, books that are similar to other books that I have read that I want to read and books that are on my list that I already OWN but haven't read yet. It's exhausting. If I read more and listed less I'd have read half of these already! Anyhoo - check out Alaine's blog and enter yourself into the contest. Although technically I'd rather win one of these books myself! Sarah Addison Allen's new book "The Girl Who Chased The Moon" is on the list. LOVE me some SAA. Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen were so quirky and adorable. Jodi Picoult's new book "House Rules" is on the list. I have read just about all of Picoult's novels. The Pact is probably my absolute favorite. The third option is "The Reliable Wife" by Robert Goolrich. It has received mixed reviews but I still want to read it. And the fourth book is "Twilight The Graphic Novel". For those interested in graphic novels I'm sure this would be a winner!

As for me, I should probably get back to reading my current book so I can move on to one of the others on my list. I'll have to post a pic of my list AND a pic of all my bookshelves around the house. I have finally gotten the nerve to start purging the books that I've already read. I use the great service What an awesome, ingenious concept! You post books you no longer want, people contact you to request those books, you send the book out to them and once they receive it, they give you a 'credit' to your account. Then, with your credit, you can request a book from someone else and they send it to you, etc etc. Each mailing OUT costs about $2.38 but you only pay for the books you send OUT not the ones sent to you. Beats buying books at the bookstore...of course it's not FREE like the library but sometimes the library doesn't work for me. I have two books sitting on my nightstand that I have to give back to the library because I just didn't get around to reading them. BUT the books from are all on my bookshelf. And they are not going anywhere. Although they do keep eyeing me. Like right now, while I'm typing away on the computer. I can almost hear them saying "shouldn't she be reading us instead of surfing the internet?".. yeah yeah, I know. OK, I'm off to read. Happy Saturday, everyone

Friday, March 19, 2010

Grace Under Pressure

Have you ever had to deal with an insurance company? This past Monday a very nice lady rammed into my car. Apparently she changed her mind at the last minute and decided to take a different road. Unfortunately I was already on that road. So her very large Toyota Sequoia ran into my very small (and very new) Nissan Sentra. Now don't get me wrong I HATE my Nissan. I got it about 6 months ago and have had nothing but problems with IT and the dealership. (That's a whole separate story). But still, I liked it better when it wasn't dinged up with a Sequoia's footprint all along the side of it. And I was kind of partial to my driver's side mirror. All one color was working for me as well. But hey, change is good, right?

Needless to say, I was a good sport, I was pleasant and I didn't cuss, yell or scream at her. We had the police come, she was issued a ticket, I got a police report number and we exchanged information. I even spoke to her insurance agent. Being the responsible person that I am (ahem) I took it to the body shop the very next day and got an estimate AND made an appointment for repair. Apparently my planning ahead is the wrong thing to do because American Family won't authorize my repair until they speak to the woman who hit me. They want to get her side of the story and establish fault. They also need a copy of the police report. Gee, I don't know, you could CALL the police department to obtain one! But, no, AM FAM advised ME to obtain one and they would reimburse me. They also said I could go ahead and proceed with my repair and, you guessed it, they would reimburse me for my deductible. Is there a reason that I am doing all the work here when their insured HIT me? AARGH!

Good thing my boss took us out to lunch today and it included margaritas...I think I'll just pretend it's five o'clock somewhere and deal with this next week. Adios!

It's Friday!

Well, Friday has arrived, thank goodness. We've been spoiled by beautiful weather this entire week and it's still sunny today. That is all about to change because SNOW is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. SNOW? Seriously? Mother Nature can be a real pain in the A$$. Teasing us with 50 and 60 degree temps this week and then dropping 3 inches of wet snow during the weekend. Guess I'll stay indoors.

My boss has been out of town the past three weeks. She went to Europe with her hubby. It's been boring around work with nothing to do...but it's also been fun! Surfing the internet all day long and getting paid for it. That will come to a crashing halt come Monday morning.

I found a blog where a girl in South Carolina is attempting to eat for one year on a $1 per day budget. She's a vegan and is making some interesting concoctions. Check out her blog at It has inspired me to really watch what I purchase, look for sales, shop at our local Farmer's Market and Aldi's and stop going out to eat so much.

I was so excited to tell my husband last night that I was writing a blog! I told him I finally did it and came up with a name! He was like "what?" So, I guess I hadn't talked about this before with him. I thought I had! When he asked me the name of my blog and I told him, he got a curious look on his, what the hell are you going to be sharing on this blog? I had to explain that it would include BOOKS that I read, not our intimate moments at home! The light dawned on him but he still didn't seem quite as excited as I was. That was the end of our discussion about my blog. Maybe I'll try again later....

On a final note, I'm reading The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. I read her other book, Comfort Food, last year and really enjoyed it. I'll keep you posted on my progress and hopefully post a review when I am done!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day One

Well, I've been reading all these blogs and contemplating....what do I say? What do I call it? I have SO much to say! So many ideas.

So, here goes. Grace is not my name. It's my great, great (great?) grandmother's name and she wanted a grandchild to be named after her. The catch? Her middle name was Petranella. Yep, Petranella. Needless to say, my parents opted to name me something other than Grace Petranella but equally horrific. ... Johnna. Apparently they wanted a boy and only came up with John Michael as the moniker for this boy. Voila - they got a girl and here I am, Johnna Michele. My parents? Not terribly creative, God love 'em. Nevertheless, good old granny Grace got her wish, in a sense, because where ever I go, if I'm asked for a name, it's always Grace....nothing to spell, nothing to pronounce. Just Grace.

I love to read. I love to cook. I love to travel and take pictures and dream. I love working out and running and biking. My goal for this blog is to take you along on my journey whether it be through the pages of a book, a trip to someplace far away, a bike ride to the grocery store or my attempt to start a garden this year.